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Arts school could open in 2008

January 22, 2007|By dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN

The Barbara Ingram School of the Arts, a proposed multimillion dollar charter school for grades nine to 12, could open as early as next year, according to Roger Giles, director of system development for Washington County Public Schools.

Giles said the school will occupy the former Henry's Theatre building on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown.

The school is being modeled after the Baltimore School for the Arts, he said. Once the Barbara Ingram School of the Arts opens, Giles said it will accept up to 300 students who are interested in pursuing an arts education.

He said students must audition to gain admission rather than submit test scores.

Costs to open the school could be as much as $10 million, he said. Giles said $1.8 million has been raised from Maryland Historic Tax Credits and state bonds.

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The school district is in the process of trying to secure federal Historic Tax Credits, he said.

"We're still exploring all the ways it could be funded," Giles said.

He said public tax dollars will pay for the students' tuition. It should cost about $7,750 per year - the state average - to send a student through the school, Giles said.

Besides the arts curriculum, students at the school will have to take courses in reading, writing, science and arithmetic, Giles said.

The staff won't be hired until the school is closer to opening, he said.

Kevin Moriarty, executive director of the Washington County Arts Council, said he will travel to Annapolis to discuss the arts school with state legislators Feb. 6.

Moriarty said he wants to convince lawmakers that the school has the potential to cast a positive influence on hundreds of children.

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