SALISBURY, Md.- West Salisbury Elementary School students will temporarily attend Charles H. Chipman Elementary and North Salisbury Elementary schools in the 2016-2017 school year during the construction of a new West Salisbury Elementary School, Wicomico County Board of Education officials announced Friday.
The Board of Education and Wicomico County Public Schools approved the plan this week, board officials said in a Friday news release.
Officials said that starting in August 2016, West Salisbury’s prekindergarten and kindergarten students will temporarily become part of Charles H. Chipman Elementary, whose attendance area is adjacent to West Salisbury’s. First- and second-grade students from the West Salisbury attendance area will temporarily attend West Salisbury’s sister school, North Salisbury Elementary, which they were already set to attend for grades 3-5.
Having two Wicomico elementary schools serve as swing space will make it possible to fulfill the school system’s first priority of keeping the West Salisbury Elementary School project moving forward, without delay, the Board of Education said in approving the plan at its March 8 Board meeting.
Officials said Wicomico County is on track to have West Salisbury design development documents to the Maryland Department of General Services by April 1, a key step in the project receiving first-year state construction funding as of July 1. The project received planning approval from the Board of Public Works earlier in the year. Wicomico County has already pledged funding for design and engineering for the project and is recommending funding for construction in FY2017, according to officials.
Officials said the move out of West Salisbury Elementary will occur this summer, with preparations beginning now. West Salisbury Elementary will soon have meetings to share the plan with parents and answer questions about the move, officials said.
With West Salisbury School temporarily closed during construction, school staff and resources will be redeployed to the other two schools and within the school system, officials noted.
The number of students being served will not change, only their location, said Dr. Margo Handy, assistant superintendent for instruction. West Salisbury Elementary’s students and staff will become part of Chipman Elementary and North Salisbury Elementary until the new West Salisbury’s projected opening in August 2018, officials said.
Officials said the move to Chipman and North Salisbury for the 2016-2017 school year will mean that students will not have to return to a sweltering hot space in August. West Salisbury Elementary is the only remaining school in Wicomico County without any air conditioning in its classrooms. Officials said the school system will continue to seek funding from state and local sources to complete HVAC work at East Salisbury Elementary, which has partial air conditioning.
Officials said that while Chipman Elementary and North Salisbury Elementary are currently somewhat under capacity, they will be temporarily over capacity but able to serve the additional students for the next two school years. Officials said North Salisbury Elementary currently has 445 students in a building with a state-rated capacity of 552. However, officials said that based on this year’s official Sept. 30 enrollment numbers for West Salisbury, there will be approximately 88 first-graders and 80 second-graders next year, or 168 students. Officials said three portable classrooms will be moved from West Salisbury Elementary to North Salisbury to provide additional instructional space, and other adjustments will be made within the building.
Chipman Elementary currently has 322 students in a building with a state-rated capacity of 412, due to the second grade having been relocated to Glen Avenue Elementary in August 2015, accordign to officials. They said Chipman can expect to receive approximately 125 prekindergarten and kindergarten students next year.