BALTIMORE - Crews are working hard to put the final touches on a new addition to Leith Walk Elementary School in Northeast Baltimore. The school was built in 1951 and has not had any renovations until now.
"We have a school system with the oldest buildings in the state. We've had a lot of issues in terms of maintaining the best possible education. We had a study by Jacobs International firms and it showed us that our buildings are in poor condition," said J. Keith Scroggins, Chief Operating Officer for Baltimore City Public School System.
The firm came up with a price tag of $2.4 billion to renovate or transform the school system. The new building at Leith Walk is phase one in the renovation process. Phase two includes renovating the old Leith Walk school building.
Once the entire $28 million project is complete, Leith Walk will house 1200 students. It will be one of the largest elementary/middle schools in the city.
"We are trying to do everything possible to give this school what it needs to have the best educational opportunities possible for its students," said Scroggins.
The new addition offers students wifi, air conditioning, voice over internet phones, a state of the art security system and lots of natural light. School administrators say the public can help students with the Mayor's Bottle Tax and the states expanded gambling revenue towards education.
"All of that money will go towards renovations and new construction. We want to do major renovations and build completely new schools for every school in the district so we want to increase the educational capacity of our system and put the ultimate in technology in our schools," said Scroggins.
Renovations for Baltimore City Schools is part of Baltimore City CEO Dr. Andres Alonso's Smart Plan. He wants Block Grants to allow city schools to leverage more money to transform the school system over the next ten years.
"We want to put in air conditioning in all of our schools and put in new windows in the schools. We will do this as we do the Smart Plan as we renovate new schools, which will be a big benefit," said Scroggins
Educators say Leith Walk Elementary School will be a shining example for education in Baltimore City.
Baltimore City Public School students start on Monday August 27th. Administrators will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:30am to welcome students and open the new building.
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