September 13, 2021
August Ribbon Cuttings Mark Opening of Six New and Modernized Schools
21st Century School Buildings Program Has Completed 23 of 28 Projects, On Time and On Budget
Imagine being a 4th grade student walking into your brand new school building filled with bright, open spaces, cool technology and smiling people that inspire your learning.
Imagine being a teacher, entering your brand new classroom with all the tools you’ve dreamed about to help your students learn and grow.
Or put yourself in the shoes of a parent dropping off your child at school and knowing they are entering a brand new, welcoming place designed just for them.
In late August, six school communities - 2,500+ students, plus their teachers and families - celebrated those moments online and in person through ribbon cutting ceremonies for modernized school buildings, all part of the 21st Century School Buildings Program.
These schools, built over the last two years with a collective budget of $225 million, are Patterson High School, Claremont Middle/High School, Billie Holliday Elementary School (formerly James Mosher Elementary), Katherine Johnson Global Academy (formerly Calverton Elementary/Middle), Robert W. Coleman Elementary School, and Govans Elementary School.
Each school community was intimately involved in the planning process for the modernized buildings that met their unique needs. As Dr. Sonja Santelises put it during the groundbreaking celebrations, “We wouldn't have these buildings if thousands of Black, brown and white parents, students, community members, alumni and teachers had not demonstrated and advocated for modern buildings in Baltimore. These buildings are a monument to their commitment and dedication to our young people.”
The school buildings give our students the quality environments necessary for the limitless learning they deserve. They will benefit from the latest technology such as universal wifi, microphones and smartboards in all classrooms, efficient heating and air conditioning systems, accommodations for students with physical barriers, and energy efficient spaces that maximize light. The buildings account for the different ways students learn, with adaptable spaces, outdoor learning areas, and mindfulness rooms.
At the ceremonies, members of the school communities shared what the new buildings mean to them. For Principal Vance Benton of Patterson High School, “it means that we matter. It means that we are deserving. It means that people really care about the lives of our students and our staff.” For Yashmina, a student at Katherine Johnson Global Academy, “it will help students accomplish their dreams of what they want to do in life.” Said Theodesia Edwards, Principal of Claremont, “For us, this new building means renewed hope that our students get the opportunity to learn and enjoy because they truly deserve it. This has been way overdue. Our students will feel proud to come to a clean, spacious building with technology and educators who show up with enthusiasm to teach our students.”
The projects are a part of the 21st Century School Buildings Program — the rebuilding or renovation of 28 schools, with 23 completed to date, on time and on budget. A partnership between City Schools, the Maryland Stadium Authority, Baltimore City, and the Interagency Commission on School Construction, the program has filled 948 positions in construction by local residents - tripling its initial commitment - and has delivered $352 million in contracts with Minority Business Enterprise companies.
To learn more, check out the recorded streams of the ribbon cutting ceremonies which include virtual tours of the buildings at the end of the recordings: here and here.