Portion of Antietam Academy to be moved

March 02, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Antietam Academy middle schoolers will attend class at a different facility next year and a permanent home for the academy could be in the works.

The Washington County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to move the middle school portion of Antietam Academy from South Hagerstown High School to Western Heights Middle School.

Schools Executive Director of Secondary Education Boyd Michael III told the school board that 14 Western Heights parents and teachers attended a meeting before the vote to discuss concerns about the move, which is intended to ease overcrowding at South High.


Michael said after the meeting that the district has considered building a permanent facility to house academy students.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said the move would maintain the separate identities of both Western Heights Middle School and Antietam Academy, which serves students who have behavioral or academic problems.

The facilities would have separate entrances, and Morgan said she was confident both schools' education environments would be strengthened by the change.

Michael said that while Western Heights parents were not "overly excited" about the move, they were supportive of the district's proposal.

The board voted to move fifth graders who have been attending class at Western Heights Middle School to Salem Avenue Elementary School, which recently was renovated and expanded. The fifth-graders include students who would have attended both Salem Avenue and Winter Street elementary schools.

The board also voted to keep second-graders at Funkstown Elementary School, rather than continue the current system, which would have moved them to Emma K. Doub Elementary School.

According to Michael, the moves to Salem Avenue will make room for the academy to operate at Western Heights, which would have 223 empty seats to accommodate the academy.

Schools Chief Operating Officer William Blum has said the academy would have 40 middle school students at its peak. Blum said before the board's meeting that South High would have needed 12 portable classrooms had the academy's middle school remained there.

The move means South High will need only five portables next year. It currently has none.

The move will return the academy's middle schoolers to a middle school environment, Michael said.

Overcrowding at Western Heights is not expected to be a problem - the school is projected to be 125 seats under capacity by 2010, Michael said.

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