Some Howard County schoolchildren are finding that the wheels of government turn slowly.
More than a year ago, county middle school students raised $16,500 to have a run-down, one-room 19th-century schoolhouse saved from the bulldozers of a new housing project.
While the Pfeiffer's Corner school was being moved to a temporary site off Route 108 northwest of Columbia, Hammond and Patuxent Valley middle school students went to Annapolis to lobby, along with county officials, for $100,000 in state funds to restore the school so it could become an educational center at a new park.
The money came through in March, and the county agreed to match it with $100,000 of its own. But the students are growing restless waiting for the restoration work to begin, and some have accused the county of stalling.
"Many of them are worried the school could deteriorate further during the winter if work doesn't begin soon," said Del. Virginia M. Thomas (D-Howard), who met with the students.
County officials said they are not sitting idle. The county is negotiating with a developer to acquire the balance of parkland it will need to move the school to a more permanent home, and steps are being taken to help the school weather the winter. The roof has been patched, some doors and walls repaired, and workers are scheduled to fix the windows soon.
Still, the most optimistic projections from the county show that the school won't be ready to visit for at least another year.
"I feel badly that we can't instantly . . . get it ready," said Jeffrey A. Bourne, the county's director of parks and recreation.