Tonight was the night the Baltimore County Board of Education was going to vote on a controversial plan to partially renovate Dulaney High School — something many in the community didn’t want because they said an entirely new building is needed, not just a limited renovation.
Cathi Forbes, a Towson resident and school activist, recapped what happened at the meeting:
In the end, the board didn’t vote for the $40 million limited renovation — no one even made a motion to bring it to a vote. However, it’s not clear what will happen to the money that would have been allocated to the project.
There was a discussion about using the money toward renovating or replacing Landsdowne High School — which is rated as the county’s worst high school in terms of facilities — but a board member pointed out that doing so would unfairly penalize Dulaney’s efforts to get a new school.
So for now, the money is not allocated to any school or project.
Had Dulaney’s renovation been approved, it would have been awarded to James W. Ancel, who has a rocky past with BCPS.
As Liz Bowie reported in The Baltimore Sun in 2011:
The Baltimore County school system will have to spend as much as $7 million more than expected for an addition at one of its high schools, after allowing a construction firm to pull out of the project over a dispute with the architect, leaving only a concrete foundation and 2-foot-high walls behind.
Contractor James W. Ancel asked to leave the $20 million project at Milford Mill Academy last year, claiming the architectural drawings supplied by the county were flawed. The school system decided to pay him $7.6 million for the work he performed and for equipment and materials he brought to the site, and then to seek another contractor, calling it the most expedient and sensible resolution.
Today, the school board is expected to award a new contract for the project to a new construction firm, for $714,000 less than what Ancel had bid.
The board also did not vote on a $34 million contract to renovate Landsdowne High and instead voted to reconsider the scope of the project in order to deliver a more thorough or complete renovation. The board did approve renovations for Patapsco High ($32 million) and Woodlawn High ($38 million).
Activists working to get funding for a new building for Towson High — ranked the third worst in the county in terms of facilities — were at the meeting and said they supported the efforts of the Landsdowne and Dulaney communities to get new schools. They are also urging BCPS to put money for a new Towson High in its FY2019 budget, which is being drawn up now.