After a years-long search for new headquarters, the Shoshana S. Cardin School, Baltimore's only independent Jewish high school, has decided to stay put and construct new buildings on Park Heights Avenue next to the synagogue where it has been renting space since it opened in 2003.
"I'm thrilled, I think it's a win-win for us and for the synagogue," said Barbie Prince, head of the school, where 56 students now take classes in space leased from Temple Oheb Shalom. The first phase of the plan would allow the school to accommodate 100 to 120 students, the second phase up to 250, she said.
If all goes well, Prince said, construction could begin in the fall, with the hope of opening the first of the buildings in fall 2011. She said plans call for a two-story central building connected to "pods" encompassing 25,000 square feet and built on what is now a grassy lot next to the synagogue.
"We're at the very preliminary stages," she said, and could not provide an estimate of what the new construction would cost. "The boards [of the school and the synagogue] have agreed to move forward. That's where we are."
The two institutions plan to share facilities when the new buildings are completed.
This winter, the school announced that it was dropping its option to buy 55 acres at the former Rosewood Center in Owings Mills owned by The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore. Prince said the school has made no decisions about its option — good until 2014 — to buy 22 acres from the state of Maryland at another portion of Rosewood.
The school said at the time that it was discouraged from pursuing the option with The Associated because of concerns about the cost of removing hazardous materials from the property. Prince said at the time that a report conducted for the Cardin school showed the 11 buildings contain asbestos and the ground was contaminated with PCBs and possibly other hazardous materials, but she declined to release the report.