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School system to explore replacing Bester Elementary

June 15, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County Public Schools will seek a private firm to study the feasibility of replacing Bester Elementary School in Hagerstown.

The Washington County Board of Education on Tuesday gave school system officials permission to hire architectural and engineering services to conduct the study.

Rob Rollins, executive director of school operations, said the study would cost about $150,000.

The money to pay for the study probably would come from the school system's surplus fund, Chief Financial Officer Chris South said.

Rollins said Bester Elementary School, which was built in 1930, is too old to meet contemporary educational needs.

"It's old and in disrepair," Rollins said. "It doesn't meet the needs of today's educational programs."

According to school system documents, a feasibility study is required by the state Public School Construction Program whenever a replacement school is being considered.

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Rollins said the study will determine whether a new school should be built on the same property as the existing Bester Elementary School at the corner of South Potomac Street and Memorial Boulevard. He said if that location is determined to be the best spot for a replacement school, students would attend the current school while the new one is being built.

About 500 prekindergartners to fifth-graders attended Bester Elementary School last year, according to statistics from the Washington County Public Schools website. The last renovation occurred in 1988.

The school system currently is building Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School on the east end of Hagerstown and Antietam Academy near the intersection of Oak Ridge Drive and Md. 65.

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