Population surge predicted for '03
Blair will receive four portables this summer in response to projections that the school will be hundreds of students over capacity next school year. The units will be placed between the stadium concession stand and the student parking lot and will not eliminate any parking spaces, as had earlier been feared.
Administrators called the portables a temporary measure aimed at easing crowding until Northwood High School is reopened in the fall of 2004 as part of the Down-County Consortium, which is expected to relieve crowding in the long term. "We're hoping these four are going to ride us out until we get Northwood open," said Principal Phillip Gainous.
According to Guidance Resource Counselor Barbara Drumm, Blair's population as of Apr 11 was 3,292 students, which is well above the school's capacity of 2,848. The school projects that enrollment will rise to approximately 3,377 next year. MCPS enrollment figures are lower than Blair's but still indicate crowding.
Administrators are unsure whether additional portables will be needed in the future. According to Gainous, additional portables beyond the four for next year would likely take up student parking spaces.
Each of the portables will hold one classroom of students and have an Internet connection, fire alarm, security system and public address system.
The stadium doors may be opened to allow students easy access to restrooms, according to Business Manager Anne Alban. In addition, the school is considering changing some security patrol routes to cover the portables area, which is also in range of Blair's security cameras.
Gainous hopes that the portables are only a temporary solution to crowding because of the inconvenience and security issues associated with them. In the old building, Blair had over 20 portables.
Installation of the four portables will begin after school ends in June, with a "target date" for completion in July, according to Alban. Teachers will be assigned to the units in late June or early July.
Kang-Xing Jin. Kang-Xing ("Mr. K") Jin is a senior in the Blair magnet program. His first name is pronounced exactly like it is spelled--"consin," as in the last two syllables of Wisconsin, where he was born. This year, he is co-managing news editor of Chips. Besides journalism, … More »