The St. Mary’s County commissioners agreed Tuesday to help the board of education fix eroded ravines behind Esperanza Middle School in Lexington Park.
Hurricane Sandy’s rains last October further washed out a ravine behind one of the ballfields, school officials said, and later rains aggravated the situation. The ballfield’s backstop was washed 40 feet downhill and was fenced off.
The school has other athletic fields for student use.
There is another washed-out ravine under a drainage pipe closer to the school building.
The commissioners advanced $143,000 into this fiscal year, which ends in June, to undertake the erosion repair project, which could lead to funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Brad Clements, deputy superintendent of schools and operations.
FEMA could provide up to $60,000, he said, toward repairs and preventive work.
Engineering work was finished in February, and the repair project should span two years and could cost as much as $760,000, school officials estimated.
The commissioners advised the school board to seek those FEMA funds and additional state dollars for school projects. The next steps for funding are “to be determined,” said Superintendent Michael Martirano.
“It’s truly amazing how fast land can go away from running water,” said Jack Russell (D), president of the county commissioners.
“It’s unbelievable,” Martirano said.
“It’s heartbreaking to see what happened there,” said Commissioner Cindy Jones (R).
The ballfield will remained closed until the ground is stabilized. We’re going to have to wait until it’s repaired” to reopen, Clements said.
Esperanza’s enrollment is 769 students.