Baltimore County schools officials on Tuesday evening presented new details of the planned new elementary school in Mays Chapel, which, thanks to a prototype design, could welcome its first student in 2014.
Michael Sines, the executive director of the system's office of physical facilities, and Ken Jones, an architect with Grimm and Parker, gave the Baltimore County Board of Education a presentation Sines said was driven by .
"This is a step that we've never taken before, to be before the board at this stage of a project, because of the sensitivity that has taken place the last several months," he told the board.
, residents spoke out for and against the new school. Some residents feel that the new school would disrupt their use of what's now open space.
The long-planned new school would add capacity to the York Road corridor, where schools in Towson, Lutherville and Timonium face overcrowding issues and have all been the subject of renovation and expansion plans in recent years.
The 700-seat school will be built in the southwest corner of the 16 1/2-acre plot off Roundwood Road. The school building and parking lot will make up about seven to eight acres of new development. Improvements include a walking path around the new fields.
"The devil's in the details," said Eric Rockel, president of the Greater Timonium Community Council and a longtime opponent of the new school. "The entire site that's going to be cleared is 16 1/2 acres, which is not what was represented before."
The plan "preserves and enhances the existing fields" in Mays Chapel, according to a school system presentation.
Check out a copy of the school system's presentation attached to this story.
"As the community drives around Roundwood Road, they still perceive the presense of a park around that road," Jones said.
Officials plan to follow an accelerated construction that could see the new school completed by May of 2014. Early construction work could begin as soon as next spring. Architects would use an improved prototype design fromin White Marsh, which opened in 2008.
"The principal walked us through there, told us what she liked, what could be improved, and we've taken all that into consideration," Jones said.
Like Vincent Farm, the building will include copious amounts of natural light, geothermal heating and other features in line with LEED silver standards. The installation of pipes for the geothermal heating will require crews to dig up the play fields at Mays Chapel, but Sines said improved fields will be installed.