A Q&A on Two Rivers

School officials spoke with a Piney Orchard resident and offered additional detail on plans for a new elementary school proposed for the Two Rivers project.

Piney Orchard resident Dorothy Berman recently posed a series of questions to Anne Arundel County School officials regarding the Two Rivers plan.

She exchanged emails with Alex Szachnowicz, the chief operation officer of the county schools. The full, unedited text of their Q&A is reprinted here with permission from both people.

Question: What are the estimated costs of running an elementary school the size of the proposed Two Rivers school?

Answer: Taking into account all of the costs associated with running and supporting a school; inclusive of salaries, materials, supplies, distributed central office costs, utilities, maintenance activities, insurances, etc. it can be estimated that it costs upwards of $5 million per year.

Question: How many current students are being bused across Rt. 3 now?  How many middle school students? How many high school students?  I don't believe there are any elementary school students, but I am not positive on that.

Answer: There are currently 13 elementary students being transported from the west side of Route 3 to Crofton Elementary. There are zero (0) middle school students being transported at this time. There are 472 high school students being transported from the Crofton side of Route 3 to Arundel High School.

Question: Could the Two Rivers Elementary School be built without expanding Evergreen Road to Strawberry Lake Way?  Or, if Evergreen Road was expanded to Strawberry Lake Way could Evergreen Road be closed off from Rt. 3 traffic?

Answer: The answer to the first part of your question is yes. The expansion of Evergreen road is not mandatory for the construction of the new elementary school. The expansion of Evergreen Road would however give AACPS the ability to cut down the travel distance by over two miles as well as eliminate the need for elementary age school children to cross Route 3 during transit.  

The answer to your second half of the question, closing Evergreen Road to traffic from Route 3, is best answered by George Cardwell at Planning and Zoning. Mr. Cardwell is the traffic engineer for our county government.

As a layman, I have two thoughts on this issue. The first, I doubt many parents from the new Two Rivers would utilize Patuxent Road to Strawberry Lake Way and the Evergreen Road extension. In my history working with parents, I have found they will typically take the most direct route to the school which will be taking the short drive up Route 3 to Evergreen Road. It is a desire of the Board of Education to not transport students across Route 3 whenever possible; although parents are free to do as they please when transporting students to and from school. I also am not sure that folks from Odenton are going to utilize Strawberry Lake Way as a short cut to get to the shopping centers. There are many traffic calming devices in the Piney Orchard community and many community members walking along and crossing the streets. People generally like to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Taking a route along   Strawberry Lake Way, though shorter, is likely going to take longer and therefore will act as a deterrent for those individuals. I do think the Evergreen Road extension will be used by many Piney Orchard community members as a wonderfully quick way to get to the shopping centers. With many from Piney Orchard using this new road, less traffic would be out on Waugh Chapel Road, again allowing the folks from Odenton quicker access to the shopping centers via Waugh Chapel Road, likely keeping them out of the Piney Orchard community.

Question: Has it been determined the amount of students that will be living in the NEW apartments  on Rt. 175 and Sappington Station Road and also in the Flat 170 apartments being built on Rt 170?  Would all of these students go to the Arundel feeder schools (Odenton, Arundel Middle, Arundel High School)?

Answer: Our individual yield rate for homes is .181 students for elementary schools, .090 for middle schools and .111 for high schools.  Utilizing these yields, we would expect about 18 elementary students, 9 middle school students and 11 high school students for every 100 units constructed. You are correct, those students do attend Odenton Elementary, Arundel Middle and Arundel High School.

david young August 19, 2012 at 09:18 PM
If the 55 restriction has not been lifted, why has all this work already been done on school design and why is the county tossing out all these statistics. Why is the COO of county schools even in communication with Koch at this point. Our tax dollars are hard at work here on behalf on the developer. Ronald and I do not see eye to eye most of the time, but he is right. It's a done deal. The players are not being forthcoming with the citizens.
Chris W August 19, 2012 at 09:47 PM
This will likely lead to more development, but let me explain what that may be a good thing. The residents in the area have been fighting the development of a rubble landfill for years. In fact it was originally aooroved more than 10 years ago but has not yet been built. It is my hope, that the more the area is developed, the less likely that this landfill will be built.
Dave August 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Chris, I agree with you, my main concern in all of this is the landfill. It is possible that this road might actually benefit the landfill, if a secondary access for large dump trucks is allowed between the landfill and Route 3. Is anyone aware if there is planned dump truck access to the landfill that is part of the "donated" GORC park land?
CM August 19, 2012 at 10:21 PM
There are two landfills in play here. Expansion of the old Cunningham Landfill and the Chesapeake Terrace Landfill proposed at the end of Conway Road.
CM August 19, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Note that the school board official Alex Szachnowicz doesn't think "as a layman" that people will cut through PO because of the calming devices. He has no clue that at the 5-6pm time frame it can take 20 minutes to sit at the six lights coming west on Waugh Chapel Rd. I would love the new road but not the school.
John August 20, 2012 at 01:48 PM
CM, I have lived in 4 Season's since the 80's when there were no lights. I normally come home via 170 and Waugh Chapel. From 175 to my turn at Maytime there are 5 lights. I never hit more than two that are red. And that is counting the left turn on Waugh Chapel that is always red. From rt 3 in is an entirely different story. It would be nice if more drivers kept the intersections clear so that we could make the left turns :)
Dave August 21, 2012 at 02:53 AM
CM, the Cunningham Landfill is not an expansion project - Cunningham was denied a permit back in the early 2000's because of his environmental violations there. He has found a proxy named Tolson to create a corporation who is filing to create a whole new landfill adjacent to the existing Cunningham Landfill (which was filled above its allowed height according to County officials I have spoken with)
Patrick H. September 01, 2012 at 03:31 AM
It has been my experience that the more develop that takes place the harder it is for landfills to be developed so I think you, Chris W., is correct. Our hope is that the environment will be allowed to co-exist with the development. We hope to see more open spaces, wildlife habitats and butterfly parks. We have noticed that this area seems to have less wild birds, crickets and butterflies than do some of the surrounding areas such as Greenbelt. Is this because of the spraying or the development that is taking place? Does anyone know?
Patrick H. September 01, 2012 at 03:32 AM
How do you like 4 Seasons John? We are trying to decide where to really look for a single family home with lots of bedrooms and bathrooms. How are the neighbors?
Patrick H. September 01, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Trying understand the problem Dave. Is the landfill a landfill issue or a failure on the part of the county to enforce the laws and hold them accountable for the environmental violations? Does this county have a history of not enforcement codes?


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