Bladensburg High to push confines of Belair Annex even further
July 25, 2002
Joel Furfari
Staff Writer




The Prince George's County School System began adding seven more temporary classroom trailers last week to make space for growing enrollment figures at Bladensburg High School.

The school's temporary home at the Belair Annex in Bowie was already a tight-squeeze for students but will have a total of 28 classroom trailers for the new school year.

The news comes as school officials face higher enrollment predictions for next year.

"We have an additional 200 students coming in," said Marjorie Spirer, the school's instructional specialist. "Enrollment is up across the county, plus we have kids being transferred here because of the end of the school system's desegregation busing."

Bladensburg had an enrollment of 1,337 students last year.

School officials have been busy preparing the "temporaries," for the start of the next school year in the fall. "We're in the process of installing them now," Spirer said.

The Bowie Star received an anonymous phone call from a resident who complained about the installation of trailers at Belair Annex. The annex is on Belair Drive and is surrounded by residential neighborhoods.

The annex building is a former elementary school that the county school system now uses to house other schools during construction or renovation. Bladensburg High School's new building is under construction and is slated for completion around 2005.

City Manager David Deutsch said no rules prevent the school system from placing more trailers at the annex campus. "There are no regulations that keep them from installing additional temporaries if they need them," he said.

Bladensburg spent its first year in Bowie this past year and no major problems resulted from locating the school at the Belair Annex. There had been resistance last year from some Bowie residents who were opposed to putting the high school students there. But the complaints largely subsided with time.

Last fall, some residents living near the school petitioned the city to require parking permits in neighborhoods around the annex. School administrators said they issued few permits to students for the annex's parking lot. Most of the students are bused to Bowie.

Spirer said Bladensburg administrators have made strides to ease the school's transition into Bowie. Both school officials and city leaders have said the relocation has so far worked well.

But the addition of 200 students and seven more trailers next year could hinder the learning for the students already adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings. "It's a fact we have to live with, so that's what we have to do. The kids handled it well this past year," Spirer said.

E-mail Joel Furfari at jfurfari@gazette.net.