11 Buildings Move Toward Design Phase, Promising New or Renovated Schools for Close to 8,000 Students
Eddie House Foster
EMBARGOED for release:
September 23, 2014, 6:00 p.m.
(Baltimore, MD) — The campaign to provide new or renovated schools for Baltimore's students, families, and communities that began four years ago has reached a new milestone, with 11 buildings identified for the first year of the program. Two, a newly constructed Fort Worthington Elementary School in the Berea neighborhood on the east side and a renovated and enlarged Frederick Elementary School in Millhill on the west, are in the design phase and will open for students in the 2017-18 school year.
"A key goal of my administration is to grow Baltimore City by 10,000 families over the next decade, and a strong education system that provides all children with the tools and resources to prepare them for successful futures and schools that strengthen neighborhoods are vital to realizing that plan," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "The joy I felt when we secured the historic investment in City Schools was unexplainable, and now that we are closer to bringing this plan to fruition, I can imagine the excitement children and families will feel when they walk through the doors on the first day of school in their new building. These new and revitalized buildings will have a significant impact on the communities they serve. Baltimore City's new schools will help both our children and communities to grow and thrive."
The 21st-Century Buildings Initiative, a partnership of Baltimore City Public Schools, the Maryland Stadium Authority, the City of Baltimore, and the Interagency Committee on School Construction, is the product of years of advocacy, planning, and unprecedented support from both the city and state. Legislation passed in spring 2013 makes it possible for bonds to be issued to secure funding for school design and construction. The most recent analysis conducted by the Maryland Stadium Authority indicates that approximately $980 million in bond proceeds could be supported by the $60 million commitment from City Schools, the city, and the state. "Students, staff, and communities across City Schools will soon be the beneficiaries of the vision, cooperation, and hard work of countless stakeholders and supporters," commented Shanaysha Sauls, chair of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners.
Preliminary cost estimates suggested that 30 to 35 school buildings could be renovated or newly constructed with this funding stream. This projection has now been adjusted to 23 to 28, because of changes in scope and assumptions related primarily to the cost per square foot for buildings to be renovated. The preliminary estimates of renovation costs differed significantly from those developed subsequently, based on the more detailed and specific plans contained in "feasibility studies" that determine what is possible given the site and condition of existing buildings.
City Schools’ new and renovated buildings will all offer significantly improved infrastructure, including potable drinking water, efficient HVAC systems, safe wiring, adequate lighting, better energy efficiency, and modern security features, and will provide spaces for community use. To meet their purpose of supporting preparation of students for today’s—and tomorrow’s—workforce, the buildings will also feature areas for group work, collaboration, and presentations, along with maximum use of technology. Michael Frenz, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, commented, “We have worked with City Schools to maximize the number of renovated or newly constructed buildings through efficiency in the building program, without compromising academic aspects.”
Communities surrounding the sites of the initial 11 buildings are at different stages of the planning phase, which begins with the feasibility study and moves through a process in which both educational and community needs are considered in the development of final architectural and construction plans.
“We are on schedule to complete the program by 2020,” added Maryland Stadium Authority Chairman John Morton III. “We are committed to delivering these transformational buildings on time and on budget.”
“We have an obligation to be good stewards of the public’s funds and to move forward in the best way to meet the needs of the students entrusted to us. That’s why we have and will continue to work with our partners to maximize resources to create inspiring, inviting, and innovative school buildings for as many Baltimore City students and communities as possible,” said CEO Gregory E. Thornton. “Delivering on the promise of this incredible opportunity for our students and families is the down payment on a long-term strategy. We will continue to work with the entire City Schools community so that later phases of the buildings initiative can
address needs at many more schools.”
For more about the 21st-Century Buildings Initiative, visit City Schools’ website at www.baltimorecityschools.org or the Maryland Stadium Authority at www.mdstad.com.