City schools unveil ambitious 10-year renovation plan

BALTIMORE -  

Crumbling, cold and out-dated classrooms are just three reasons why Baltimore city schools will spend more than $2 billion over the next decade to revamp and replace school buildings.

Some schools have classrooms without windows, or even enough electrical outlets to plug in more than two things for an entire classroom. But worse yet, conditions where it's just hard to concentrate.

Sherrelle Savage has three boys that go to different city schools.

Each building is in a different state of disrepair.

"Whether it's too hot or too cold so you never exactly sure how to dress to go to school do I take an extra jacket or do I wear short sleeves?" Savage said.

Even the school where the city announced its new 10 year multi-billion dollar capital improvement plan is an example of what needs to be done.

The school is well over capacity. This library meant to serve about 300 students in 1978 now serves twice that. It can barely hold 80 adults.

It's very hot in here, and there are no windows. 

The schools say they can't have facilities built to handle 20th century needs help a 21st century student body.

"The plan is right for kids and necessary for them to take their progress to the next level this is about what's best for all our students throughout the district." School CEO Andres Alonzo said.

It would be the largest public investment ever in the city school system---$2.4 billion for ten years of construction and improvement of school facilities.

It would close 26 school buildings, renovate or replace 136 others, and would allow the schools to utilize 77 percent of its building space as opposed to the 65 percent used now.

Alonzo says with modernized buildings, with everything from better technology to simple things like windows that open he says children can get the chance to achieve.

"It's going to be hard we need you in this because this is right for the city and this is right for our kids," Alonzo said.

It all sounds great and it is very ambitious but, there is one little thing. The legislature; which is actually a very big hurdle.

School leaders say they need lawmakers to approve block grants that would get the funding for this ambitious task.

State delegate Kurt Anderson says the city delegation is united in its efforts to get this funding from lawmakers and will lobby intensely.

In the meantime Alonzo says the plan is fluid and is set up to be responsive to community changes.

 

 

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