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Could students build schools?

November 05, 2004

Faced with a surge in school population, the Washington County Board of Education this week voted to more than double its capital funding request from $60 million to $171 million. Then, the board's members began thinking about how to save money on construction costs.

Jacqueline Fischer suggested that people might be encouraged to donate school sites in exchange for having the schools named after them.

We have another idea. Why not have at least some of the work done by students in the building trades programs at Washington County Technical High School and at Hagerstown Community College?

For years, students in such programs have built single-family homes, which then were sold. Yes, a school is a bigger, more complicated project, but many skills needed for both are similar - carpentry, bricklaying and electrical work.

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Not only would such an arrangement save money while it built students' skills, but it would also allow those young people to point with pride to something they helped accomplish.

A few years ago, students from the Technical High School wowed audiences with their work at the Maryland Technology Showcase in Baltimore. Who's to say another group of students couldn't do it again?

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