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Ground broken for new elementary school

April 17, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Washington County's newest elementary school is still nameless, but officials broke ground Tuesday at the site where the 84,900 square-foot-school will be built.

The school in the Westfields community south of Hagerstown will open in 2008, along with replacement schools for Maugansville and Pangborn elementary schools. Groundbreakings for those schools are scheduled for April 24 and May 1.

Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said the schools are ushering in a new era of "growth and prosperity" for the school system. Washington County Commissioners, school officials and members of a committee working to name the Westfields school attended Tuesday's groundbreaking.

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Maddie Guillard and Noah Tyler Wright - students at Emma K. Doub Elementary School and members of the naming committee - also attended.

Crews have been working on the school site for nearly two weeks, Assistant Superintendent for School Operations Boyd Michael said. He said workers are leveling the area where the school will be built and working on sediment control.

Board of Education Vice President Wayne Ridenour said this was the county's first new school since Eastern Elementary School was built about 15 years ago. The new elementary school will seat about 750 students, and will have students enrolled in prekindergarten through fifth grade.

Michael said that some work at the other two school sites is under way.

Redistricting will be necessary to relieve overcrowding in some schools and to fill the new schools. A committee examining possibilities for new school districts will be holding public meetings about possible changes in the next two months.

A new Pangborn Elementary School is expected to hold nearly 750 students. The existing school has 620 students -139 more than its state-rated capacity. A new Maugansville Elementary School is expected to hold about 735 students. The school's current enrollment is 337 students - about 20 more than its state-rated capacity.

Ridenour thanked County Commissioners, who have "stepped up to the plate" with funding to build the three schools.

Suggestions for naming the Westfields school have been narrowed to three, and the choice will be up to the Board of Education. The three suggestions are Rockland Woods, Antietam Valley and Chapel Woods.

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