Upper Marlboro fights for old school

Upper Marlboro residents fight to keep school

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Prince George’s County and it’s host city, Upper Marlboro, are at odds this week over what to do with a crumbling old school house building.

Prince George’s County has already filed for approval to raze the building, and hopes to erect a Family Justice Center in its place. But, Upper Marlboro residents worry new architecture will disrupt the historic feel of the town and are pushing to get it restored.

“I used to play on the swings when they had the swing set up and things like that,” said Evelyn Stephens, who grew up in the area. She is a fourth-generation Upper Marlboro resident.

It is no longer a playground, but rather a wasteland. But, for those that loved it, memories of the area live on.

“Historically it means a lot, my family has been here for a very, very long time. But it has bitter sweet memories,” she said.

The historical site was once a school, then a Sheriff’s office, but for the last decade, it has been vacant—now the county wants to use the space to build a Family Justice Center. Part of the plan is to knock down the old building. But, Upper Marlboro commissioners want restore it.

In tough economic times, the bottom line may not allow for that.

“It’s more cost effective to demolish and build new than it is to renovate a building that is that age and comes with problems that already exist in that building,” Scott Peterson, Prince George’s County Executive Office Spokesman.

The city wants more time to assess the building. A public hearing is scheduled for next month to hear from residents.
For Stephens, it would be hard to see a childhood memory stripped away.

“I would miss it totally for historical reasons. I have fond memories of playing on that swing set with my friends,” she said.