Historic status sought to save Catonsville school Residents remain hopeful in renovation effort

January 15, 1996|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Landmark preservation status is the latest tool being used by the Catonsville Community Conservation Association in its fight to restore the former Catonsville Middle School on Bloomsbury Avenue.

The Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission recently voted unanimously to add the 70-year-old building to its landmarks list. The vote serves as a recommendation for preservation status to the County Council, which makes the final decision.

Jim Himel, CCCA vice president, said the group hopes to safeguard the Bloomsbury building while efforts continue to convert it back to a middle school.

"With landmark status it's very, very difficult to tear the building down and use the property for something else," he said. John McGrain, executive secretary for the commission, said the status is being recommended for a large portion of the old school -- the original building and a wing added in 1930.

But more recent portions of the school, which include a cafeteria wing and a shop wing built in the 1950s and 1960s, are not being recommended for landmark status, he said.

The CCCA recently scored a partial victory when the Baltimore County school board reversed its decision to tear down the Bloomsbury building to make way for a new elementary school and instead chose another site.

However, association members still are battling to have the building restored to a middle school and the current Catonsville Middle School on Edmondson Avenue converted to an elementary school.

The county school board has said no money is available to restore the Bloomsbury building as a middle school.

Officials said a date for the County Council vote on landmark status has not been set.

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