The Johns Hopkins University has concluded architectural studies of the former Eastern High School property on East 33rd Street in Baltimore and determined that the building is sound enough to be recycled for educational uses, as it proposed this year.
The Schmoke administration in July selected the university, over a group that wanted to build a shopping center, to develop the high school and surrounding property and gave it until Sunday to decide whether to proceed.
Hopkins' plan called for the high school, built in 1939 and vacant since 1986, to be recycled at a cost of $11.5 million to be used as academic and administrative space.
Hopkins proposed ringing the renovated school with as many as five smaller buildings to create a 26-acre complex that eventually would contain 500,000 square feet of university-related space.
The entire project, to be completed in phases, could represent an investment of $40 million and bring 1,500 employees to the area, according to the proposal.
University spokesman Dennis O'Shea said this month that Hopkins officials are eager to move ahead and are drafting a disposition agreement that will spell out terms under which it will acquire the parcel from the city.
"We've done the studies we planned to do and filed the results with the city," he said. "Basically, the building is in good shape. It can be saved, and it can be converted for the kinds of uses we were talking about."
A consultant recommended in the mid-1980s that the high school be torn down for new development, but community groups and preservationists argued that the building ought to be saved and reused. Two years ago, city officials sided with the community and took steps to preserve the building by boarding up its windows to keep out vandals.
Mr. O'Shea said Hopkins needs to extend its six-month exclusive negotiating period for a couple of months to conclude talks with the city. He said administrators hope to take control of the property in time to begin work on the conversion in early 1996.
Proposed elements of the satellite campus include:
* A high school run by Kennedy Krieger Institute, a regional resource center for children with brain disorders.
* A 50,000-square-foot "Business Incubator Center" run by Dome Real Estate, a Hopkins affiliate.
* As many as 50,000 square feet of office space for administrative, academic and other university needs.
The project is supported by the Greater Homewood Community Corp. and other neighborhood groups.
Hopkins estimates that the project, when complete, could pay as much as $250,000 in yearly property taxes and could pump $200 million into the local economy each year.