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Washington County schools' central office fix up includes flat-screen TV

February 01, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Renovations to the Washington County Public Schools central office lobby have made the area more secure and more inviting, schools spokesman Will Kauffman said.

The $75,000 project began in October and was completed last week. Some work remains, like the installation of a flat-screen wall-mounted television, additional lighting and the display of the school system's logo, Director of Maintenance and Operations Michael Peplinski said.

He also expects student artwork to be displayed in the lobby of the central office at 820 Commonwealth Ave. in Hagerstown.

"It didn't feel very homey," Peplinski said of the space that was smaller and didn't have much natural light before the renovations. "The light was terrible. There was nobody to greet you."

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There is now a staff member in the lobby to greet the public and prospective employees. Peplinski said a more inviting lobby could help with teacher recruitment.

The audio-visual area in the central office auditorium, where Washington County Board of Education meetings are held, also was improved. The room was doubled in size to accommodate all of the equipment housed there.

Kauffman said that when the room was first built, board meetings were not televised, so the smaller size was OK; but with the need for additional equipment, the extra space is necessary. Kauffman said the improvements make the area more efficient.

Peplinski said the lobby renovation is the first major improvement to the central office building since the 1970s, when a bus garage was built. The parking lot was repaved in 2006.

Though there have been preliminary discussions about moving the central office to another building, Peplinski said there are no plans for that in the "near future."

In April 2007, the Board of Education approved spending $225,000 for a new roof at the central office. At the time, officials said the building's lower roof between the planetarium and the auditorium would be replaced. A new metal roof was to be built over the existing high roof in that same area.

Peplinski said Monday that the design for a roofing project has not been completed.

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