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