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Thurmont Primary School is going "portable."

Vic Bradshaw
Frederick News Post

Whether the town’s board of commissioners likes it or not, Thurmont Primary School is going "portable."

At a recent meeting, board members lamented news that a "portable" classroom  the modular units that pop up around overcrowded schools is coming to the primary school. They questioned whether the Frederick County school system could move some classes to Thurmont Elementary until the primary school gets a scheduled addition.

Ray Barnes, the system’s executive director of facilities services, quashed those notions Tuesday night. At the commissioners’ meeting, he said Thurmont Elementary doesn’t have as much room as statistics indicate and that moving classes was more complex than it may seem.

The capacity for the elementary school has been overstated for some time, Mr. Barnes said, because the open-space building was reconfigured after the primary school opened. Two classrooms were eliminated when that change was made, but the capacity numbers weren’t adjusted. School system staff members are recalculating those figures.

The elementary school has two vacant rooms, Mr. Barnes admitted, but shifting students into them would mean splitting the second grade. Such a move could create problems, he said.

"It’s not an unreasonable question to ask," he told the board. "But from a program and administrative standpoint, it’s better to have all the second grade in one building."

Mr. Barnes said the portables are necessary to accommodate full-day kindergarten classes at the school. The state-mandated full-day kindergarten program will be implemented next year in Thurmont. One portable will be placed at the school this school year, he said, and as many as two more will be added before the next school year begins.

Construction of a $3.5 million addition to the primary school is slated to begin in fiscal year 2006, Mr. Barnes said. It should open the following year.

Earlier in the meeting, Rick May, the town’s clerk-treasurer, informed the board that it has the $9,000 necessary to pay for design work for a section of Thurmont Boulevard this year. The board has pledged to build at least a 280-foot section of the road before the proposed regional library opens in the town.

The stop sign placed at the intersection of North Carroll Street and Luther Drive to slow trucks leaving the NVR Homes plant was discussed briefly. Residents at the intersection have complained about increased noise as the trucks stop and start.

The board agreed to seek suggestions at the next Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) meeting and resolve the matter soon. The CAB meets Friday at 6:30 in a conference room at the NVR plant.

The commissioners continued discussing how to honor Albert Zentz. Mr. Zentz, who died recently, spurred job creation in Thurmont years ago by selling land to companies looking to build factories.

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