Business, Education, Family, Politics

Consultant releases recommendations for Baltimore County Public Schools high school construction

TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County and Baltimore County Public Schools have released the recommendations from the first phase of the Multi-Year Improvement Plan for All Schools (MYIPAS).

MYIPAS is a 10-year capital planning process that will identify and prioritize needed improvements to Baltimore County’s school infrastructure. The first phase focused on high schools. The second phase, focusing on all remaining schools, centers, and programs, is scheduled to be complete in May 2021. A final report is expected by fall 2021.

“Every student in Baltimore County, regardless of their zip code, deserves access to a safe, modern school facility that meets the needs of their community,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “With aging infrastructure and a growing population, we have significant needs at the high school level, and these initial recommendations will serve as a critical resource as we work to ensure equitable allocation of resources throughout the County.”

“For more than two decades, I have worked to build new schools in Baltimore County,” said Fifth District Councilman David Marks. “We have had some success with the construction of Honeygo Elementary School and County funding for two new schools.  While these recommendations are preliminary, I do not support warehousing students by building additions at already-crowded schools.  The plan needs input, scrutiny, and changes.”

“We appreciate the efforts of Baltimore County Government in delivering these recommendations. It is incumbent on the Board to carefully evaluate recommendations and next steps given the tremendous facility needs throughout the county and the current economic crisis due to the global pandemic,” said Kathleen Causey, chair of the Board of Education of Baltimore County. “These are challenging times, but it is essential that we continue to move forward with facility improvements.”

“We view the development of this plan as an important step forward on the path toward ensuring that all of our school buildings offer the type of physical environment most conducive for teaching and learning,” said Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams.

The initial recommendations were developed by consultants from CannonDesign, a national architecture and planning company that has led over 1,300 education facility projects across the country, including over 200 education master plans.

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CannonDesign took a detailed look at the County’s high school buildings with a focus on educational adequacy and equity, facility conditions, and capacity utilization. In addition, stakeholders were offered an opportunity to provide input in July through an online survey, which received more than 22,000 responses.

Using their findings, CannonDesign developed recommendations for how Baltimore County should prioritize its resources for high school construction, with those facilities and communities with greater need receiving higher prioritization.

The County is projected to have approximately 1,700 more students than seats in its high schools over the next decade, and the consultants found that the County has approximately $1.2 billion worth of capital needs at the high school level. If recent state funding trends continue, it would take 27 years to address all of the County’s high school needs.

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (HB 1), which passed the General Assembly with overwhelming support but was vetoed by Governor Larry Hogan, would have allowed the County to meet the needs of its high school students in an estimated 15 years.

County Executive Olszewski has urged the General Assembly to override Governor Hogan’s veto.

More information can be found below.

Click to access myipas-high-school-recommendations-2020-09-29.pdf

 

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