City school headquarters was once considered a 'palace'

May 04, 2012

One only hopes that the Baltimore City School Board president is clearer with other facts than those involving the city school headquarters building, which he imagines is 184 years old ("As schools crumble, suites get renovated," April 27).

In fact, the east and west wings of the headquarters opened in 1913. They were of modern construction and had huge, open cement floors which were then partitioned off for classrooms, shops labs, offices, etc.

This is exactly the style used today. That is why in the 1990s the building's 1936 central wing, with its interior brick walls, was demolished, while the two 1913 wings were cleared out and a new office building was created connecting them to a brand new central structure.

It was a nice, flexible and easily adapted arrangement. Unfortunately, the HVAC system was poorly done.

My guess is that problems with the relatively new 200 E. North Avenue complex are due to misuse and poor maintenance, as is the case with so many other school buildings old and new. The North Avenue building was considered a "palace" right after its completion.

John E. Roach, Baltimore

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