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Officials admire 'green' going into new school

March 30, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot's mother accompanied him Wednesday when he visited the new Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School east of Hagerstown. Touring the school are, from left, Washington County Register of Wills Jason Malott; Assistant Schools Superintendent Donna Hanlin; Franchot's mother, Janet Howell; school board President Wayne Ridenour; and Franchot.
By Julie Greene

HAGERSTOWN — Touring the new Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School just outside Hagerstown Wednesday morning, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot admired the “green” construction.

Washington County Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham expressed her gratitude to Franchot for a different kind of green — state funding.

“It’s great to have (Ruth Ann Monroe’s) name on our school and have you guys pay for it,” Callaham told Franchot. Callaham said Monroe was a great leader and role model for young children.

Washington County Public Schools are still awaiting the approval of $592,100 in state funding for the school, which will open for the next school year, said Rob Rollins, director of facilities planning and development.

The state is providing $14 million, with the last $4 million still to come. Currently, the state Board of Public Works has approved $3,407,900 of that request, Rollins said.

Franchot is a member of the three-person Board of Public Works, which approves money for school construction projects.

The total project cost is $25 million, including design, construction, furniture and equipment for the new school, Project Manager Traci Coldsmith said.

The county is providing the rest of the funding, Rollins said.

The school will serve prekindergarten, kindergarten, first- and second-grade students. Students in that school district who are in third, fourth and fifth grade will attend Eastern Elementary across Yale Drive from Monroe Primary School.

Like the new Antietam Academy, Monroe Primary has geothermal heating and cooling.

Walking through the school, Franchot said it had nice even heat.

Coldsmith said the geothermal system allows for more consistent heating throughout the school rather than one room being warm and another being cold.

Franchot was accompanied by his mother, Janet Howell.

Introducing her upon their arrival, he noted during World War II that she had been one of women known as “Rosie the Riveters,” making windshields at an aircraft company.

“As awful as that war was, it must have been a great time to be an American. Because everyone was working together,” Franchot said.

“I wonder why we don’t have that now, with all the problems facing the country,” Franchot said.

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