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Teachers enthusiastic about land bequest

The King George School Board last week was informed that King George High School teachers are enthusiastic about a land bequest that is in the offering for the division.
Superintendent Candace Brown told the School Board at its meeting on Sept. 12 that science teachers and others had come up with several ideas for use of the 8.81-acre property that M. Elois Rogers bequeathed to the division. The wooded acreage is located

on a western section of Route 218, toward the Stafford county line.

Brown described the teachers in the high school science department as “elated.” She said the science department wants to have a biological field station.

“They were thrilled to think about having the piece of land, and immediately started rattling off all of these things they were going to do,” Brown said. “And the next thing I knew, building trades had an amphitheater built, with a shelter and horticulture had it landscaped, and NJROTC had a training track over there.”

Brown said she had stressed that it should probably be considered as a long-range project, adding, “This would be something that different classes throughout the time could work on.”

But she said one of the first major things that would likely be needed is site work to provide parking area.

No mention was made of a budget for the project or estimates for development costs, but that may come in the future. Brown said there might be people in the community that could assist, citing a young builders program that may want to participate.

Brown said the attorney for Rogers’ estate was willing to insert language into the deed that will allow the division to use it in the several ways they are coming up with, as long as it was still within Rogers’ intent.

Rogers’ will states her intention, saying the property is given, “to the public school systems of King George County, Virginia, for their preservation and use in the study of natural sciences.”

“It would be like the facilities they have at the Virginia Wildlife Museum down in Newport News, where they’ve got a lot of buildings and trails and such that had to be put in,” School Board member Rick Randall said. “But it’s there so you can go out and see the natural environment. As far as the use of the land, even before we can get facilities set up on it, so long as we’ve got a place to safely embark and disembark the students, it should be good in the raw, at least for field trips. So that we don’t have to take the kids hither and yon, just so they can see a frog on a tree in a natural environment.”

Dennis Paulsen suggested that it might also be allowed to be used by the community, such as Boy Scouts groups.

“I imagine the intent of the donor is to educate the children,” Lynn Pardee said. “And I’m sure that she never thought about all the different ways that this property can be used. So, I can’t imagine her or her estate or her executor would complain if CTE (Career & Technical Education) built something on there, or the Boy Scouts did something, or even if cross country got out there and did a track. I’m sure she would be very proud to see everyone using the land she donated.”

Renee Parker’s comments centered on insurance, saying, “I’m sure none of these separate entities would be thinking about liabilities with regard to insurance and things like that, so if we can get that piece answered, where the school’s concerned, then we can move forward to opening it up to what uses. We just want to make sure we’re covered.”
Brown was told to continue with the bequest proposal and report back.

CONNECTION TO SCHOOLS NOT KNOWN
Brown shed no light shed on why Rogers had bequeathed the land to the division, nor if she had been connected to the school division.

Rogers had been in her 90s, had been a single woman without children and was a resident of a nursing home at the time of her death on June 26, 2011.

An online search reveals an M. Elois Rogers with a matching date of death who had been born in November 1911, and had lived in Tracy’s Landing, Md., in Anne Arundel County, east of Upper Marlboro.

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