Plans Take Shape To Overhaul Overcrowding At Baltimore County Schools

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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—Overcrowding overhaul. Baltimore County school leaders roll out an aggressive plan to relieve crowding at some schools.

Gigi Barnett explains the improvements come with air conditions, an upgrade parents protested for.

Mandy Slaysman’s third grade class at Halstead Academy in Baltimore County has enough elbow room to learn. There’s no overcrowding there.

But the magnet school doesn’t have air conditioning, and parents say the warmer months are brutal.

“It’s very hot in the schools, and it’s muggy, and it makes them feel sluggish,” said Kim McLeod, parent.

The school is one of several on a list to receive a new campus.

School leaders unveiled the plan this week to combine some schools into renovated school sites and build additions to others.

For instance, teachers and students at Halstead will move to the old Loch Raven Elementary.

After construction, they’ll be room for at least 500 students.

Parents have asked for the renovations for years.

“A brand new school equals a brand new start, brand new everything, brand new kids, friends,” said Anthony McLamb, parent.

“First of all, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is too good to be true.’ Our kids are going to get such an amazing opportunity,” said Halstead principal Jennifer Mullenax.

Mullenax says the new buildings are slated for state-of-the art technology.

While the plan isn’t approved just yet, Mullenax says she’s ready for the upgrades.

“Just moving us over there is just going to take us to the next level,” she said.

Parents said one of the schools, Westowne Elementary in Catonsville, protested back in May because that school lacked air conditioning. It was built back in 1951. That school will get a new building with room for 700 students.

All of the projects are set for completion in the 2016-2017 school year.

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