State funding constraints have thrown another kink into Bowie’s requests for Bowie High School renovations, something city officials have pushed for — along with a new high school — for more than a decade.
Prince George’s County school officials requested $8.2 million from the state to renovate Bowie High’s annex building, which needs about 69 percent of its infrastructure replaced, but state officials have put the project on hold due to funding constraints, said Sarah Woodhead, Prince George’s County director of capitol program.
PGCPS requested upgrades to the school’s computer labs, science labs, its roof and other infrastructure, Woodhead said.
Bowie High School is about 50 years old and has had such an increase in students over the years that the school system moved students into a secondary building. Bowie officials have requested for more than a decade to build a new high school on Mitchellville Road, at a location already set for a new school, but their calls have not been answered. The delay of repairs to the annex building is just another notch in a belt of disappointment.
Bowie High has been part of the county school system’s Educational Facility Master Plans, which determines which school buildings need renovations and which areas need a new school, but the high school has bounced around.
“It should have been done years ago,” Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said. “Worked our way up to the top of the list only to be knocked down. I’ve always been committed to a second high school. But I live in the world of reality, and if I can’t get a new high school than my plan B is to get a major renovation.”
Woodhead said the school systems plan to create a new priority list for high schools that take into consideration the school’s physical condition, utilization and educational adequacy. At the moment, the school’s physical condition is the primary factor in receiving renovations, she said.
“We are working to put measures in place that will be very clear and fair and transparent,” Woodhead said. “I do know that Bowie has some real concerns, some legitimate concerns.”
Mary Nusser, who volunteers in the annex building and has had 12 of her family members attend Bowie High, said money for annex repairs has always finds its way somewhere else.
“No more marble floors get installed in any government building unless all of our roofs at schools are repaired,” Nusser said. “Unless every child has a book in their hands, no more building upgrades at county buildings or state buildings.”
Woodhead said the school system hopes to get the high school priority list into the 2015 master plan, which would be released later this year.