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.