Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bollman Bridge and Patuxent Valley: A 17 Year Deal

The southeast has played host to a few Schools that have closed before some of the current ones have come to replace them, the main two that come to mind are Scaggsville Elementary and Savage Elementary. Scaggsville operated out of what is now the Southern District Police Headquarters while Savage is now a private School.
Scaggsville and Savage Elemenatrys closed in 1971 and 1973 respectively when Hammond Elementary and Middle opened in 1971 while Whiskey Bottom Elementary (now Laurel Woods) opened in 1973. The closure of Savage Elementary was not well received by the Community of Savage, who thought losing their School was detrimental. The County had plans to build a new Savage Elementary later in the 1970s as well as another Middle School, so in 1971 two years before Whiskey Bottom Elementary even opened, the County purchased a huge swath of land at the southwest quadrant of Volmerhausen Road and Savage Guilford Road.
Now why open Whiskey Bottom at its location in North Laurel? Well, big development plans were in the works in North Laurel that would provide a very high density to the still predominately rural southeast. The County did not feel it was feasible to put money into the aging Savage Elementary and also given the high density in North Laurel, the decision was made to build the new School in North Laurel and allow future growth in the Savage Community dictate when Savage Elementary would be built.
For the remainder of the 1970s and through the mid 1980s growth was concentrated within a stones throw of Whiskey Bottom Elementary and School enrollment in the Savage Area, was on the decline as the County pondered whether or not to close the aging Guilford Elementary. The hold up in growth was due to a poor economy that halted the development of King's Contrivance in Columbia. Luckily Guilford was not closed as it became the defacto School of King's Contrivance's Huntington Neighborhood, the bulk of which was built in the 1980s. Guilford was modernized in 1982 and received an addition in 1986. Atholton, the School serving King's Contrivance's Dickinson and Macgills Common Neighborhoods was modernized and added onto in 1980 given that Clemen's Crossing's 1979 opening wasn't enough to stop overcrowding there.
Whiskey Bottom and Hammond Elementaries both received additions in 1987 as the floodgates halting development in the southeast had been opened. These additions in the 1980s were not enough to relieve crowding in the southeast. A new Elementary School was needed in the
region. Although Elementary and Middle Sites in King's Contrivance were master planned in the Community, the County opted for a different site; Savage!
The new Elementary School in Savage was named Bollman Bridge after the name sake bridge in Savage opened in 1988 17 years after the land for it was purchased. Bollman Bridge opened while development was in a frenzy, along Gorman Road Bowling Brook Farms was under development as was Kings Woods off of Whiskey Bottom Road, not to mention King's Contrivance and new high density development in Guilford. Next year in 1989 Patuxent Valley Middle opened next door to Bollman Bridge.
Bollman Bridge became very crowded very quickly as did Laurel Woods (nee Whiskey Bottom) and Hammond. In 1992, just four years after Bollman Bridge opened, Forest Ridge Elementary opened and just two years after that Bollman Bridge received an 88 seat addition bringing its capacity up to 616 from 528. Although Bollman Bridge's crowding subsided, Gorman Crossing Elementary opened in 1998 one year after Murray Hill Middle to relieve Forest Ridge and Laurel Woods and to provide a home to the planned Emerson Development.Bollman Bridge lost some K-5 Capacity to expand its PreK and RECC programs knocking the capacity down to 566. The drop in enrollment at Bollman Bridge was short lived however, and a 97 seat addition was just now completed bringing the capacity to 663 with LEED certified renovations projected to be completed in 2013.
When Savage Elementary closed, a new Elementary School was planned but after its closure the southeast didn't have the growth the warranted a new School until 17 years later. Bollman Bridge has thus allowed Savage to realize its dream not only to have a community Elementary School but Patuxent Valley has allowed Savage to have its own Middle School as well.

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