Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In Response to my Elkridge Post

I'm writing this post as a response to my recent post regarding Elkridge and its School Construction. This being a hot button issue I'm not surprised that I got so many comments so quickly. I will attempt to the best of my ability to address every issue raised.
The reason I listed past construction projects is because I have read multiple articles and comments to said articles stating that according to Residents Elkridge has historically been denied adequate funding for School Construction. If one looks at the history of School Construction in the past 25 years one will see that almost every year there has been a new School opening, or existing Schools receiving additions, renovations, or modernizations in Elkridge.
I do agree that a few years after ES#41 opens there will be a need to deal with crowding at the Elementary School level once again but there are ways in which to do so. First off in 2019 the County is planning for a 42nd Elementary School in the east whether it's the northeast or southeast depends on how crowded the Schools in each region are and where a site can be obtained.
Secondly there's additional redistricting and renovations. As far as redistricting is concerned I think it can help Deep Run immensely. In addition to what is planned, I think Jessup, located southeast of the I-95 and 175 interchange can be redistricted to Guilford (pictured above), which due to the redistricting of 2012 is now under capacity. This coupled with Deep Run's renovation and 100 seat addition will allow relief of Bellows Spring and ES#41 in 2016.
Also there's Waterloo, If PREK, RECC, and Emotional Disturbances Programs were to leave that School and have them held at say Jeffers Hill which is under capacity then Waterloo will have close to 100 seats to absorb growth and provide relief to neighboring Schools. PREK and RECC alone will be the equivalent of a 100 seat addition.
Waterloo Floor Plan with my proposed renovations
 The Emotional Disturbances classrooms could be renovated to serve as a second art room and a third music room which will up Waterloo's core capacity.
Also enrollment at Rockburn is slated to go down even without the opening of ES#41. Since ES #41 is located in the Rockburn district there will have to be redistricting in Rockburn and that will probably leave Rockburn open to have students from Elkridge or ES#41 redistricted there in future years. All of this can be done prior to 2019, the slated opening of ES#42. 
Location of the undeveloped Oxford Sqaure
In regards to Oxford Square, I don't believe that it will be built very quickly. If you look at how long it has taken Downtown Columbia to get redeveloped or Turf Valley to get built you will see that there are numerous pit falls regarding adequate public facilities other than Schools such as roads, sidewalks, fire stations (something Elkridge needs) that the developers will face before Oxford Square is built in its entirety. Just because the County granted the developer zoning for his requested 1776 homes doesn't mean it will be as easy to actually build them. One reason a lot of the development along Route 1 has gone ahead as quickly as it has is because of the large additions that were built on Elkridge and Bellows Spring in 2009 and 2011 respectively. Once ES#41 has opened and all it does is balance enrollments before Oxford Square is built, the County will have to delay construction on at least some of Oxford Square.
My Preferred MS#20 Site
 I think the MS#20 site in Oxford Square should be banked for an additional Elementary School instead of a Middle School. I do think another Middle School is needed in the Northeast and it should open no later than 2014 but I don't think Oxford Square is the appropriate location given how many Middle Schools already exist and that there are other parts of the northeast that are bused very and will continue to be if MS#20 is built in Oxford Square. I will dedicate an entire post to this. 
Perhaps the only site large enough for a High School in Elkridge
 I do think that the only real failure done by the School System as far as Elkridge is concerned is the fact that they haven't acquired a site for a High School. Right now all that's available is the Troy Hill Park so that will have to do. I agree whole heartily that Elkridge is due for a High School all its own and the opening of Long Reach in 1996 robbed the Community of it because all of Elkridge now takes long bus rides to either Howard or Long Reach. 
I do like that it was mentioned that Western Howard County has fallen way under capacity. I don't think it's a good idea to bus students from Elkridge all the way out there as a solution to Elkridge's crowding. I wrote a post regarding the excess capacity in the west and suggested that three Schools close out there. Clarksville Elementary would close in 2013 and its entire population would go to Dayton Oaks. West Friendship would close that same year and its entire population would go to Bushy Park. Clakrsville Middle would close in 2015 and would be split between Folly Quarter and Lime Kiln. Part of Folly Quarter would then go to Glenwood to balance it all out.
Well I think that I've addressed all issues brought up in yesterday's comments. Keep in mind that I will write another post about things that Elkridge feels it's lacking and yet another one explaining my position on MS#20 and where it should be built.


DawnP said...

I think that the reason you got so many comments so quickly was not because this is a "hot button issue," but because of your condescending and dismissive attitude toward the residents of Elkridge. I imagine that was your intention. Congrats on offending a huge group of people with very real concerns about their community in order to generate traffic on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, the people in Elkridge don't get offended. We get mad as hell, and we fight back.

Spence Lean said...

Dawn, it worked didn't it? Anonymous if you were prepared to fight back you'd show yourself. BTW I believe that was a threat. Also it appears Howard County will be granting yet another Elementary School in Elkridge in Oxford Square located next door to MS#20 making your argument even less credible and mine even more so.

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Anonymous said...

Wow, what a prick. And a specious one at that. But I'm pretty sure you know that a historical review has no context if not compared to something. How does school/infrastructure spending in Elkridge COMPARE to the rest of the county? A little more intellect and a little less asshole would probable improve your life in innumerable ways, and your blog.