Construction of new Patterson building should begin this summer

By Paris Smith

A projection of what the new Patterson High School building will look like
(Image: 21st Century Schools)

Patterson High School has been around for many years. Patterson was built in 1959 (after relocating from an even older building) and it is now 2019. For over 5 years, Patterson has made plans to build a new school. In 2017, when I was in 9th grade, they told us the new building was already planned and was going to be built at that time, but unfortunately for us that did not happen.

However, from the information I collected to write this article, I found out why the new building was not constructed at that time. It was hard for the school to get the money and be approved by Baltimore City Public Schools to get a new building. In 2013, the Maryland state government approved a plan called the 21st Century Buildings fund. Under this plan, Baltimore City Public Schools would rebuild or renovate dozens of schools by borrowing money from the state, the city, and the Stadium Authority. A nonprofit organization called BUILD was enlisted to help execute this plan. With this new funding, the city and the state agreed to create a new building for Patterson. This information comes from Ms. Masati and Mr. Pesa.

The school was expected to cost 120 million dollars, which was approved by all of the decision-makers involved. However, last school year it was discovered that an additional 7 million dollars was required to build a protective barrier that will help ensure the area is safe for everyone. This is because the location for the new building (behind the athletic fields) is Superfund site, meaning that in the past, toxic waste buried underground there. To protect students and staff from this potential environmental health hazard, the new building had to be redesigned and the additional 7 million dollars had to be approved by all four boards involved in the 21st Century Buildings program. This caused construction for the new building to be delayed, but the new funding was eventually approved and BCPS CEO Dr. Santelises publicly confirmed that the district is moving forward with construction on a new building for Patterson.

Groundbreaking for the new building should start this June and and the new school should be finished in the summer of 2021. This year’s freshmen will be the first class to graduate from the new building. The new school will be built on the current site of our baseball/softball/soccer field.

Do you think it is weird or a bad idea to have the school change its location, even if it’s just a little bit, or to build on the field? I think it’s alright as long as Patterson gets a new school. I will be gone in 2020 and I would not know what the sports teams will do about the field, but Patterson will figure something out for their teams.

Knowing the expenses for the school, do you think they are spending too much, too little or the just right amount of money on the school? I have seen other schools that have been rebuilt and they look nice, but visiting the website baltimore21st , I found the prices for the schools and Patterson is spending a lot more then some other schools. Of course, every school is different, and the new building will also be shared with another school called Claremont, which adds to the expense.

But the school will have all the new things that you would expect in a new school building. As Mr. Martin explained, “The new school will have open learning spaces, heat, air conditioning and the latest technology. Our current 2022 class should be excited about the possibility of spending their senior year in the new school.”

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