Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

Linganore's banner flies at Oakdale High School

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Tom Fedor/The Gazette
A staff member welcomes students to Linganore High School at the start of classes on Monday morning. Crews removed Oakdale High School lettering from the building on Friday. A banner above the main entrance to the building covers the Oakdale High School sign.

Linganore at Oakdale High School now has a banner that more accurately describes the population roaming its halls.

The banner was placed on the front of the building after the existing metal letters, which named the school Oakdale High, were removed Friday.

By Saturday, a banner reading "Linganore at Oakdale High School" flew in front of the temporary home of Linganore High Schools students and staff.

Linganore students are expected to be housed at Oakdale for the two school years while their home school is rebuilt.

Roger Fritz, senior project manager for the construction at the school, said the banner was a last minute addition — amid "a thousand other things" he had to oversee to prepared the school for students on Monday — and he said that by no later than mid-September, more permanent letters would replace the banner, proclaiming the school as Linganore High.

He said that while there would be a cost associated with the change, it would be on the order of a few hundred dollars, a small part of the school's $70 million price tag.

"We're not talking a lot of money," he said.

Ray Barnes, director of facilities for Frederick County Public Schools, said Friday that the change was not the result of a recent decision, but of a discussion that had been taking place over the last several months.

Barnes said the plan was to have the permanent letters in place soon after the first day of school. "We finally got around to it," he said.

Barnes said the banner would not be a permanent solution because of the fear that bad weather would damage or remove it. "We were afraid it wouldn't hold up very well," he said.

Eventually, the new letters, which would proclaim the school Linganore High School, will be installed in the soft concrete surface over the school's main entrance that until Friday proclaimed the building Oakdale High.

He said that the school system planned to hold on to Oakdale's letters until 2010, when Linganore High School was expected to be rebuilt at its original location.

At that point the building would revert to the name Oakdale High School, and the original letters would be put up again.

Marita Loose, spokeswoman for Frederick County Public Schools, said the banner was placed on the school to remind the community that, although the students and staff of Linganore High School were no longer in the building that traditionally housed them, they were still Lancers.

Principal Marge Lyburn said students were settling in well to their new home. Walking around the school, she said she saw students quickly adapting to their new surroundings on Monday and Tuesday.

She said Linganore students learned to be flexible in their old school, where they frequently had to deal with insufficient space and equipment, and that they carried this flexibility to their new surroundings. "It was almost as if this was nothing unusual," she said.

As for the temporary renaming of the building to Linganore High School from Oakdale High, she said that she expected the installation of a permanent sign by the first week of September, and that the banners will remain in place until her students return to 12013 Old Annapolis Road.

"[The letters] will be out there until it's no longer Linganore," she said.