Showell, SDMS Top School Projects List

SNOW HILL – The replacement of Showell Elementary School, an addition at Stephen Decatur Middle School and various roof repairs highlight the Worcester County Public Schools Capital Improvement Program (CIP) approved this week.

On Tuesday, the Worcester County Commissioners approved the capital improvement plan presented by Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor.

“While our focus right now is on the Showell project, the CIP is a forward looking document, and we have identified projects to be following the Showell replacement school,” Taylor said.

The CIP outlines the school system’s future school construction plans. As expected, the biggest project on the horizon for Worcester County in the near future is the replacement of Showell Elementary School. A feasibility study for the project was conducted in 2014. Since then, in cooperation with county officials the school system has worked to reduce the estimated cost of the project from $54.6 million to $42.4 million. Construction of the new school is expected to begin in October 2018.

In addition to the new school, the CIP includes plans for an addition to Stephen Decatur Middle School that would allow for the elimination of the nine portable classrooms currently in use at the school. The CIP also includes roof replacement projects at Pocomoke and Snow Hill middle schools.

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“At this time we envision a transition from major school construction projects to an emphasis on smaller systemic projects as we move forward with our school construction planning…,” Taylor wrote in a letter to the commissioners in advance of this week’s meeting. “It is our belief that we have been successful in addressing our school construction needs because of the combined efforts of our board of education, county commissioners, state legislators and community members. It is our hope that with the ongoing support of the county commissioners we will continue to provide all Worcester County children with excellent educational facilities.”

Taylor said the state’s Board of Public Works had reviewed the CIP in October.

“We received positive comments from the board regarding the Showell project,” Taylor said. “In particular [Comptroller] Peter Franchot was very excited we were moving forward with that project.”

The state’s Interagency Committee on School Construction (IAC) also reviewed the project.

“The IAC had no issues or concerns with our CIP,” Taylor said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the capital improvement plan. Verification of the commissioners’ approval will now be sent on to the required state agencies.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.