City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

February 09, 2007

Lack of heat closes four city school buildings

This week's cold spell is taking a toll on Baltimore's old school buildings, four of which had to close early yesterday because of lack of heat.

"We're fighting weather that's colder than usual and buildings that are very old," said Keith Scroggins, the school system's chief operating officer. "It's just creating havoc for us."

The building housing Dr. Roland N. Patterson Sr. Academy and two charter schools closed at 10:30 a.m. after the boilers shut off and workers were unable to restart them.

City College, Frederick Douglass High and Dunbar Middle closed at noon.

City College was among 10 schools that closed early Tuesday because of heating problems. It closed again yesterday because heaters needed to be drained.

At Douglass, vandals smashed windows Wednesday night, causing nearby pipes to freeze.

At Dunbar, pipes burst in three classrooms, flooding the second, third and fourth floors.

Scroggins said the system closes a school when the temperature in the building is below 68 degrees. He said the system uses staff engineers, on-call contractors and energy-savings companies to respond immediately when a school's heating shuts down. He was unsure last night whether the schools would be ready to reopen today.

Baltimore has the state's oldest stock of school buildings. The average age of a city school building is 38 years, and the city system says its 182 buildings have about $1 billion in maintenance needs.

Sara Neufeld

Baltimore: East side

Brown joins board overseeing project

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown has been selected as the gubernatorial appointee to the board overseeing the East Baltimore redevelopment centered on a biotechnology park, it was announced yesterday.

Brown replaces former Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele on the 11-member board of East Baltimore Development Inc.

In addition to the gubernatorial appointee, the board consists of three appointees selected by the mayor; two each chosen by Johns Hopkins and the community; and three at-large appointees.

The project, which calls for several life-sciences buildings and hundreds of units of new and renovated mixed-income housing, encompasses 80 acres north of the Johns Hopkins medical complex. It is expected to cost $1 billion in public and private money, and take a decade to complete.

"Lieutenant Governor Brown will be a key leader as we work with all partners to develop and expand this key region of our state," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement.

Baltimore: Neighborhoods

Cornish to head investment agency

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon announced yesterday that Jacqueline Cornish will lead the city's new Neighborhood Investment Division. Cornish used to be executive director of Druid Heights Community Development Corp.

The new division - which was recommended by Dixon's transition team report - aims "to speed up disposition of city-owned property; help communities implement neighborhood plans; build capacity of community development corporations and increase community involvement in the development process," according to a news release.

"Supporting Baltimore's network of community organizations is critical to rebuilding our city," Dixon said in a statement. "Jacqueline's outstanding work in Druid Heights is a testament to what can be accomplished when committed people put their minds and hearts into strengthening their communities."

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