Six surplus county schools will be transformed into offices, a nursing home, a church and a meeting hall under arrangements approved yesterday by the Prince George's County Council.
The council agreed to sell six of the 44 schools designated by the county's school board as surplus last year because of declining school enrollments. According to Donald H. Ellis, a Department of Public Works official who helps to direct property sales, the schools are first offered to government units and then sold if no public use can be found. Ellis said that private buyers must propose a use compatible with the neighborhood and be able to afford any needed renovations.
Two schools, Berwyn Heights Elementary and the Parkway Elementary, will be used by the state. Berwyn Heights Elementary will be used as office space for the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute. Parkway Elementary will be leased to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission for office space.
The others include Suitland Special Education Center, which is to be sold for $400,000 to the Sheet Metal Workers Union for use as an office and a training center; Holly Park Special Center, to be sold for $450,000 to The Christian Hope Ministries for use as a church and school; Accokeek Elementary, scheduled to be sold for $191,000 to the Knights of Columbus to use as a meeting hall (with the group promising to maintain the library there) and Buckingham Elementary, to be sold for $300,000 to Frank and Barbara Herold, owners of a school in Montgomery County, who will operate a nursing home.
In other action, the council narrowly approved the appointment of Richard Ianucci as director of the Department of Hospitals and Health Services. The all-Democratic council voted 5 to 4 to approve the appointment with one member abstaining, after several council members accused Ianucci, a Republican and an associate of Republican County Executive Lawrence Hogan, of trying to stall contract negotiations with several hospital unions. Ianucci said the accusations were untrue, but promised to work harder to see that contracts were settled.
Council members Ann Lombardi and Deborah Marshall also proposed legislation yesterday to allow the county to collect a $100 annual fee and 5 percent of the gross subscribers fees from operators of "electronic signals for entertainment or other consumer services," which operate in apartment houses of 25 units or more.
Marshall said the bill was drafted at her request by MetroVision, the winner of the county's southern cable television franchise. She said the bill was intended to regulate providers of such services as Home Box Office and Super TV in order to allow apartment dwellers to have a choice over the services they will receive. Marshall said the bill presented yesterday is in rough form and may, unintentionally, include cable television services, but was included on the agenda to call attention to a potential problem.