The Olney School opened in 1875 and operated
until 1929. Olney began as a small, one room schoolhouse that stood on
Route 108 just west of St. John's Episcopal Church. How would you like
to ride a horse to school?
In 1929, classes shifted from the
original location to the Sherwood Consolidated School, which was near
the present Sherwood High School on Route 108. Olney Elementary School
was built on its present site in 1954 to relieve overcrowding at
Sherwood Elementary. The school building was rectangular, contained ten
classrooms, an office and a health room. The cupola and weather vane
stood above the front door! At the time of the original dedication, May
17, 1954, Theodore McKeldin, Governor of Maryland, rode in a
horse-drawn coach from the Olney Inn to the existing site to dedicate
the new building.
As the first elementary school in this area, Olney Elementary serviced
the children living in the communities between Laytonsville and Sandy
Spring, north to Howard County and South to Manor Club. In 1956, part
of the lower wing of classrooms was added, plus the all-purpose room and
kitchen. In 1959, more additions included a library, two kindergarten
rooms and five classrooms. A new media center and enlarged
administrative area were included in a 1974 renovation. In 1981, Olney
Elementary was recommended to be closed due to declining enrollment. A
community effort was launched to save the school and prepare for
projected growth in Olney.
In 1989-90, Olney Elementary students were temporarily housed in Brooke
Grove Elementary while their school was enlarged and modernized.
Students and staff returned to Olney in September, 1990. The building
retains the Williamsburg essence of its immediate surroundings. It has
30 classrooms, computer lab, fully automated media center and
communications studio, all-purpose and dual purpose rooms. There are
many special purpose rooms, including reading, speech, resource,
counselor, parent volunteer and team rooms, and an administrative office
suite with conference room.
The "Town Meeting", a relief mural, welcomes visitors to the school.
The mural depicts animals native to the Olney area when Olney was first
settled. The closed courtyard of the school features a life sized
dragon sculptured by Lorraine Vail which joins the old and new parts of
the school. A brass weather vane still guards the building.
Outside, students enjoy climbing apparatus,
a separate kindergarten play area, a large soccer and ball field, and a
blacktop area. Beautiful, mature cherry trees and white pines
highlight the school grounds along with landscaped azaleas and
The building and grounds provide an
attractive, inviting environment that enhances the teaching and learning
process, where students, staff, and parents work together as a
community of learners.