Saturday, March 24, 2007

City Schools: A Gradual Building Replacement Plan

This is my largest post to date so bear with me. Pictures Coming as I obtain them

When it comes to the comeback and marketability of Baltimore City there are two gigantic elephants in the middle of the room. One is the violent crime problem and the other is the failing public school system. Not only is student performance awful but the condition of the school buildings themselves and the structure of the school system and city government is a mess as. The mayor has as little to do with student performance as possible, now this is no accident, it is setup this way so someone running for mayor can't point their finger at the incumbent. In Howard County where I come from, the County Executive could not get away with this. Also the school board can't keep its books straight and is facing a budget deficit.

Now this post isn't about really about student performance, the mayor's connection to the schools, or the school board cooking the books, it's about school construction. I'm sure you're wondering why build new schools when there are 85,000 students and the schools have space for 125,000 students? It's no secret that the city has got to close down many schools or they will lose state money because they run so inefficiently. Close to every school building in the city is in extreme disrepair and the maintance costs are staggering. What I'm proposing is closing two three or even four schools and placing the population of the schools in one brand new building.
Here's a break down of how it will be done by neighborhoods. I'm using the elementary/middle method as the city appears to be getting rid of traditional middle schools.

Here's a breakdown of how the city can build new schools of varying sizes while closing down old dalapidated schools at the same time.

Mount Royal/Bolton Hill Area
Close Booker T. Washington Middle
Combine Mount Royal Elementary/Middle and Midtown Academy and Eutaw Marshburn ElementaryMiddle school students in all elementary districts would go to new school
House them in Booker T. Washington Middle BuildingName new school Bolton Hill Elementary/Middle

Federal Hill/South Baltimore
Rebuild Thomas Johnson ElementaryClose Federal Hill and Sharp Ladenhall Elementaries and put them in new Thomas Johnson Elementary
Name new School South Baltimore Elementary/Middle (some students would attend francis scott key middle)

Build new Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School would be a combinaton of both highlandtown elementaries and the middle school students in the district(Southeast and Canton middles would be closed)

Pigtown/Union Square
Combine George Washington, Stuart Hill,and Charles Carroll Barrister Elementaries
Build Washington Village Elementary/Middle Close Diggs Johnson Middle

Allendale/Edmondson Village/Rognel Heights
Combine Mary E. Rodman, Lyndhurst, and Rognel Heights
Build Edmondson Village Elementary/Middle
Close West Baltimore Middle

Walbrook/Fairmont/Mount Holly
Combine Edgewood,Alexander Hamilton,Belmont, and Rosemont Elementaries
Build Walbrook Elementary/Middle
Close Lemmel Middle

Harlem Park
Combine Harriett Tubman and Harlem Park Elementaries
Build Harlem Park Elementary/Middle combination of all three schools
Close Harlem Park Middle

Coldstream Homestead Montebello
Combine and close Montebello,Abottston,Coldstream Park Elementaries
Build Coldstream,Homestead,Montebello Elementary/Middle
Close Hamilton Middle

Brooklyn Curtis Bay
Close and combine Bay Brook, Maree G. Farring, and Curtis Bay Elementaires
Build Brooklyn Curtis Bay Elementary/Middle
Close Benjamin Franklin Middle

Park Circle
Close and combine Edgecombe Circle Elementary,Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary,and Kipp Ujima
Build Park Circle Elementary/Middle
Close Pimlico Middle

Park Heights
Close and combine Pimlico,Arlington, and Langston Hughes Elementaries
Build Park Heights Elementary/Middle (I'm aware there used to be a park heights elementary)Close Pimlico Middle

Southeastern Neighborhoods
Close and combine John Rurah, Holabird,Graceland Park O'Donnell Heights
Build Southeast Elementary/Middle
Close Southeast Middle

Close and combine Samuel Coolidge Taylor,Furman L. Templeton,William S. Pinderhuges Elementary
Build Upton Elementary/Middle
Close Booker T. Washington Middle

Sandtown Winchester/Druid Heights
Close George G. Kelson Elementary Redistrict to New Song Academy

Franklin Square/Poppleton
Close and combine Franklin Square, James McHenry,Lockerman bundy,and Bentalou Elementaries
Build Poppleton Elementary/Middle
Close Diggs Johnson Middle

Barclay/Charles North
Close and combine Barclay,Dallas F. Nicholas, and Harford Heights Elementaries
Build Charles North Elementary/Middle
Close Robert Poole Middle

Charles Village
Close and combine Margaret Brent,Waverly and Guilford Elementaires
Build Charles Village Elementary/Middle
Close Robert Poole Middle

Howard Park
Close and combine Ashburton,Grove Park,and Callaway Elementaries
Build Howard Park Elementary/Middle
Close Garrison Middle

Close and combine Gwynns Falls,Windsor Hills,and Hilton Elementary
Build Mondowmin Elementary/Middle
Close Lemmel and Garrison Middles

Penn North/Reservoir Hill
Close and combine Westside, William S. Baer,and James Eager Howard
Build Reservoir Hill Elementary/Middle
Close Lemmel and Booker T. Washington Middles

Hampden and Medfield Heights Elementaries will now take grades 6-8

Northwood/Pen Lucy
Close and combine Lois T. Murray, Walter P. Carter, and both Northwood Elementaries
Build New Northwood Elementary/Middle
Close Winston and Chinquapin Middles

Govans/Loch Raven
Close and combine Goavns,Yorkwood,and Leith Walk Elementaries
Build Loch Govans Elementary/Middle
Close Winston and Chinquapin Middles

Hunting Ridge/Irvington
Close and combine Thomas Jefferson, Beechfield, and North Bend
Build Hunting Ridge Elementary/Middle
Close West Baltimore
Washington Hill/Butchers Hill
Close City Springs and General Wolfe Elementaries
Redistrict to Inner East Harbor Academy
Close Lombard Middle

Close and combine Garett Heights,Hamilton,and Cecil Elementaries
Build Laura Hamilton Elementary/Middle
Close Hamilton Middle

Forest Park
Close and combine Liberty, Calvin M. Rodwell, and Dickey Hill Elementaries
Build Forest Park Elementary/Middle
Close Garrison Middle

Cherry Hill
Close and combine Dr. Carter Woodson,Patapsco, and Cherry Hill Elementary/Middles
Build Waterview Elementary/Middle

Westport Area
Close and combine Westport,Lakeland, and Arundel Elementary/Middles
Build Inner Harbor West Elementary/Middle

Harford Road Area
Close and combine Glenmount, Woodhome, and Hazelwood Elementaries
Build Harford-Waltherson Elementary/Middle
Close Northeast Middle

Belair Edison
Close and combine Brehms Lane,Sinclair Lane,and Morovia Park Elementaries
Build Belair Edison Elementary/Middle
Close Northeast and Thurgood Marshall Middles

Mosher/Bridgeview Greenlawn Area
Close and combine James Mosher,Lafayette Street,Matthew A. Henson,and Robert W. Coleman Elementaries
Build Lafayette Square Elementary/Middle

Dunbar Broadway/Middle East
Close and combine Commodore John Rogers,Dr. Bernard Harris Sr,and Thomas G. Hayes Elementaries
Build Dunbar Broadway Elementary/Middle
Close Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle

Oldtown Area
Close and combine Dr. Rayner Browne,Collington Square,and Fort Worthington Elementaries
Build Oldtown Elementary/Middle

Upper Patterson Park Area
Close and combine Lakewood, William Paca, and Tench Tilghman Elementaries
Build Library Sqaure Elementary/Middle

*Update I'd like to add that when new schools are built that their athletic facilitis be put on the roof of the school building much like the Park Heights JCC and the proposed rebuilding of William Paca Elementary to free up more land for developement.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A Different Side of West Baltimore

West Baltimore has gotten lots of bad press over the years so it's easy for one to forget about the many great neighborhoods West Baltimore has to offer. It's easy for one to get wrapped up in what goes on in Midtown Edmondson, Rosemont, Coppin Heights, Edmondosn Village, Poppleton, Harlem Park, Franklin Square, and South Hilton. One forgets about Hunting Ridge, Ten Hills, Westgate, West Hills, Irvington, and Beechfield.These neighborhoods are clean, safe, and relatively affordable when looking at the whole metropolitan area. So why aren't these neighborhoods a hot commodity? When one hears the words West and Baltimore put together they head for the hills.
These neighborhoods were built around the same time as the Edmondson Village area with the widening of the Gwynns Falls bridge on Edmondson Avenue in the 1910s. These neighborhoods grew up side by side originating from the selling off of estates.The Neighborhoods that grew from the selling of estates consist of mostly single family homes with row homes sprinkled through out. For the most part, urban decay has stopped before reaching the doorstep of this community. Today the neighborhood serves a diverse array of residents both economically and culturally. Hopefully this different side of West Baltimore will become the backbone of West Baltimore and become a catalyst for additional investment and development.