Ground­break­ing held for new Dun­dalk school

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By CHAR­LENE MAYO cmayo@ches­pub.com

On May 4, the Dun­dalk com­mu­nity joined to­gether at Dun­dalk Ele­men­tar y School to par­tic­i­pate in the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for the new build­ing, set to open in Au­gust 2019.

“Per­se­ver­ance, commitment, de­ter­mi­na­tion; these are just, in a few words, virtues that de­scribe our jour­ney and where we are now,” Dun­dalk Ele­men­tary School prin­ci­ple Michael Parker said.

“This ground­break­ing cer­e­mony is cel­e­brat­ing tra­di­tion while mov­ing for­ward,” said stu­dent coun­cil pres­i­dent Rocco Lilli.

Last Fri­day, the school’s 713 stu­dents, along with Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Schools of­fi­cials, gov­ern­ment lead­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers, joined to­gether to cel­e­brate the com­ing of the new build­ing.

Built in 1925, the Dun­dalk Ele­men­tary porch, which hun­dreds of thou­sands of stu­dents stepped foot on, was a fit­ting spot for the cer­e­mony to take place, Parker noted.

Parker, who started his ca­reer in ed­u­ca­tion 28 years ago, made it a pri­or­ity when he be­came prin­ci­ple at Dun­dalk Ele­men­tary to ad­vo­cate for a new build­ing.

Bal­ti­more County un­der­stands that the 93-year-old school is a part of Dun­dalk her­itage, noted school board chair Ed­ward J. Gil­liss, how­ever, mak­ing up­grades that are cur­rent with to­day’s needs are cru­cial.

“It will be just right for these times, just as the old build­ing was right for its time,” Gil­liss said.

“We’re not los­ing a land­mark, we’re gain­ing a new Dun­dalk com­mu­nity cen­ter­piece,” he added.

With the population grow­ing, the new school will bring state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy and se­cu­rity, air con­di­tion­ing and recog­ni­tion of the his­tory and pride that has come from Dun­dalk Ele­men­tary, ac­cord­ing to Gil­liss.

In an ef­fort to re­build dozens of in­sti­tu­tions in Bal­ti­more County, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials started a $1.3 bil­lion dol­lar pro­gram to build or re­build 90 schools, Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive, Kevin Kamenetz said.

The de­lay in up­grades for Dun­dalk Ele­men­tary stem from lack of funds the county had to dis­trib­ute, ac­cord­ing to Kamenetz.

How­ever, Bal­ti­more County was able to for­ward-fund $325 mil­lion of the state share in or­der to keep progress mov­ing for Dun­dalk Ele­men­tary, Kamenetz noted.

“The whole idea here is to build schools for the fu­ture,” Kamenetz said.

“This school has stood for 93 years, and we want to build schools for the next 93 years,” he added.

As the cer­e­mony came to a close, BCPS In­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent Ver­letta White re­it­er­ated that the cer­e­mony was about the stu­dents.

“You are the most im­por­tant peo­ple here,” White said.

“As we move for­ward we have to make sure we are stick­ing to­gether,” she added.

“You’re the con­nec­tion of the past, lead­ing us into the fu­ture; there are lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ties that are ahead,” Parker said.

“The new build­ing wont de­fine who we are but it will en­hance what we al­ready do,” he added.

PHOTO BY CHAR­LENE MAYO

Dun­dalk Ele­men­tary stu­dents and staff were joined by BCPS ad­min­is­tra­tors and elected of­fi­cials for last week’s cer­e­mony.

PHO­TOS BY CHAR­LENE MAYO

Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Kamenetz dis­cusses Bal­ti­more County’s ed­u­ca­tion fund.

Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Schools In­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent Ver­letta White ad­dresses the au­di­ence.

Stu­dent coun­cil pres­i­dent Ricco Lilli in­tro­duces a speaker.

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