Washington County school buildings get annual report cards

August 06, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |

Every year, Washington County Public Schools facility officials evaluate school buildings, giving them overall ratings as well as ratings in specific areas.

The rating system is used to determine the condition and usefulness of each school building, according to the 2011 Educational Facilities Master Plan.

Each component is given a score from 55 to 95 based on the Maryland Public School Construction Program’s scoring method.

Areas evaluated include physical, such as fire and life safety, flooring and electrical distribution; functional, such as classrooms, health services and media centers; and other considerations, such as the age of the school and its enrollment versus its state-rated capacity.

None of the schools is considered to have a poor overall rating.

Four schools have ratings that deem them not adequate — Bester, Conococheague, Sharpsburg and Winter Street elementary schools. Winter Street has the lowest score at 71 percent.

In July, the Board of Education approved a schematic design for a new Bester Elementary School in Hagerstown’s South End. That school would open in August 2014.

The next school construction priority, according to the master plan, is a new “West City” elementary school that would consolidate students from Winter Street Elementary School in Hagerstown's West End and Conococheague Elementary School west of Hagerstown.

School system and county officials are working together to determine appropriate sites for future projects such as the “West City” elementary school and a “South County” elementary school, according to an email from Rob Rollins, the school system’s director of facilities planning and development.

Modernizing Sharpsburg Elementary School is the school system’s sixth school construction priority.

The priorities are reviewed annually and can change.

When the latest list was approved in June, Board Vice President W. Edward Forrest said he wanted to keep an eye on the southern Washington County elementary school and that school system officials should consider building a larger Sharpsburg Elementary School at another location in the area.

The school recently got a new roof and its interior is being painted this summer, said Mark Mills, director of maintenance and operations for the school system.

Some of Sharpsburg Elementary School’s issues are the absence of separate drop-off loops for school buses and parents, and insufficient parking space, Mills said.

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