Pigtown, near the new Oriole Park on the far side of the Martin Luther King Boulevard, has been deteriorating for years. The new stadium may yet have a salutary effect on the appearance of housing along Washington Boulevard, but little improvement is evident so far. For that reason the reconstruction of a century-old school at Washington Boulevard and South Carey Street is a welcome development.
A $2 million project will transform the old School No. 34 by early next year into Barrister Court Apartments, providing housing for low- and moderate-income citizens under the state's Partnership Rental Program. It will be the seventh such school conversion in Baltimore City in a partnership with the state.
At a time when many of the tax credits that once encouraged historical preservation no longer exist, this school conversion program has produced some wonderful examples of adaptive reuse of older buildings. Significantly, Betty Jean Murphy, the developer working in Pigtown, was honored last year by Baltimore Heritage for her respectful conversion of the former Louisa May Alcott Elementary School on Reisterstown Road. That Victorian structure was turned into a 44-unit apartment complex for low-income elderly residents.