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(Enlarge) As heavy equipment clears the way behind homes off Vale Road Wednesday, construction at Red Pump Elementary is on schedule. (Photo by Nicole Munchel | Aegis staff)

Despite record-breaking snowfalls in February and persistent rainfall in March, construction at Red Pump Elementary School is still on track.

Work at the Red Pump site north of Bel Air began in October and is still scheduled to be completed by the beginning of the 2011-12 school year.

“The snow and rain caused a slight delay in the completion of the building pad,” Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications for the school system, wrote in an e-mail. “However, the building pad should be on grade by April 5, which means we anticipate the concrete footings will be poured by the end of next week. Even with the slight delay caused by the snow and rain, the building is still on schedule.”

Once the concrete footings are in place, construction on the building will begin.

The building is scheduled to be completed by late June 2011, when furniture deliveries will begin.

The new elementary school will open up a new attendance area and is expected to bring countywide enrollment at the elementary level to 90 percent of gross capacity, according to Joe Licata, chief of administration for the school system.

The opening of Red Pump Elementary School will coincide with the implementation of the school system’s comprehensive elementary redistricting plan, slated to be finalized next winter.

Both the construction of Red Pump and redistricting are driven by the overcrowding of many elementary schools in the greater Bel Air area, from Fountain Green to Fallston, Hickory and Forest Hill.

The goal of the redistricting plan, which will need to be approved by the school board no later than March 1, 2011, is to have all elementary schools operating in the 85 to 95 percent capacity level.

The Superintendent’s Technical Advisory Committee will continue to formulate recommended modifications to attendance areas until this June, when the changes will be taken out into the community.

The regional focus groups, which are comprised of five community representatives and one school administrator from each individual school, will meet this June and August to discuss the proposed recommendations.

The board of education will host public hearings in January and February next year.

The redistricting plan is expected to bring relief to the most overcrowded schools, including Prospect Mill Elementary, which is operating at 134 percent, Emmorton Elementary, operating at 128 percent, and Forest Lakes, operating at 124 percent.

For additional information on redistricting, visit the school system’s Web site, www.hcps.org, and click on the “Elementary Redistricting” button on the left side.


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