Cardin School halts move after asbestos, PCBs found

February 12, 2010|By Arthur Hirsch

The Shoshana S. Cardin School has abandoned plans to move to the former Rosewood Center in Owings Mills next fall but will leave open its option to move to another portion of the site.

"It's very, very disappointing," said Shoshana S. Cardin, co-founder of Baltimore's only independent Jewish high school, where 56 students are now enrolled. "We were on a high. Parents, students, faculty, we were on a high that we'd have our own building and be in there in September."

Barbie Prince, the head of the school, said Thursday that school officials made the decision after looking at a preliminary environmental study of 55 acres, now owned by The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, that the school had a contract to buy, contingent on the outcome of the study. Eleven buildings now stand on the land, including the 8,000-square-foot, single-story Kanner Building that the high school was considering as a new home.

Prince said the report showed that the buildings contain asbestos and the ground is contaminated with PCBs and possibly other hazardous materials. The cost of cleaning up the property would be prohibitive, Prince said, and it was not clear how extensive the contamination is.

She said the school will abandon that plan but retain its option to buy a separate, 22-acre parcel on the site from the state of Maryland that does not expire until 2014. In the meantime, the school will continue using space rented from Temple Oheb Shalom on Park Heights Avenue, as it has since the school opened in September 2003.

Cardin said the current space is "inadequate for our needs," but the school has a contract to remain there for another two years.

The Rosewood Center in Owings Mills, once a home for the developmentally disabled, was ordered closed by Gov. Martin O'Malley last year. Last month, the state Board of Public Works declared 178 acres there - separate from the 55 acres owned by The Associated - surplus land.

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