Wicomico County School Renovation Project Headed To State For Approval

SALISBURY – The next phase in a renovation and addition project at Mardela Middle and High School will advance to the state’s school construction agency.

On Tuesday, the Wicomico County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve design development documents for the Mardela Middle and High School renovation/addition project and to submit the design documents to the state for approval.

“We continue to progress,” said Facilities Planner Cayla Campbell, “and we are planning on a design development submission to the state by the end of October.”

Facility Services Director Leisl Ashby told board members late last month the design development phase is the next step in a long-awaited renovation/addition project at Mardela. She noted efforts to begin the school construction process began more than two years ago.

“You may recall two-and-a-half years ago the board approved a feasibility study that set the course for this project,” she said. “Although funding is challenging, it continues to be a high priority project for the board. Throughout the design process, the team has addressed the many challenges of a combined middle and high school program.”

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Architect Scott Cousin of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates told board members last month the design development phase began in April, following state approval of the school system’s schematic design submission.

“We refined the site plans, the floor plans, building layout, exterior design,” he said. “Probably a bulk of the work is going to the inside of the building and developing the layout.”

With no further discussion this week, the school board voted unanimously to advance design development documents to the state’s Interagency Commission on School Construction.

In recent years, a renovation/addition project at Mardela has topped the school system’s priority list for school construction projects. Officials say the school, which was last renovated in 1980, needs new HVAC systems, safety improvements and adequate instruction space for the school’s 600-plus students.

“My job as principal is to ensure my students are provided with a safe environment that is conducive to instruction,” Principal Liza Hastings said in a public hearing late last year. “Unfortunately, the condition of our current building makes this difficult to achieve.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.