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Eastern Primary construction documents OK'd

June 03, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- Construction documents for a planned Eastern Primary School have been approved.

The Washington County Board of Education voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve plans for the school that is expected to open in August 2011.

Board member Donna Brightman was opposed. Board member William H. Staley and Vice President Ruth Anne Callaham were absent.

The school is expected to cost $22.2 million and enroll 620 students in prekindergarten through second grade.

Brightman said she has "buyer's remorse" regarding the planned primary school.

"I think it's the wrong school in the wrong place," she said in an interview after Tuesday's meeting.

Brightman said the recent economic downturn and school capacity needs in other parts of the county make the Mount Aetna Road site near Eastern Elementary School a bad location for a new school.

Board President Wayne D. Ridenour said that is one opinion, and that the school system applied for state funding specifically for Eastern Primary School. That money cannot be transferred to a new project at a new site, he said.

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The state has pledged to fund 73 percent of the school's construction costs.

If the new school were planned for another site, the county would have to pay 100 percent of the costs, Ridenour said.

Tom Janus, a former candidate for the Board of Education, said during Tuesday's meeting the school board should reconsider building such a large school.

He said a school of 200 to 250 students would be ideal for young students.

Janus also said there is not a need for a 620-student school near Eastern Elementary.

"The schools in Boonsboro are the ones who need the help," he said.

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