Pikesville High School unveiled its new $50 million renovation at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday morning, Sept. 19, which was attended by several Baltimore County government and schools officials.

Classes were in session, but Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent S. Dallas Dance, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, and Pikesville High School Principal Sandra G. Reid were among those officials who cut the ceremonial ribbon on the school’s two-year renovation and improvements project.

Due to rain, the speeches and ceremony were moved inside the high school. Attendees marveled at the changes made to the building, which opened in 1964.

Numerous upgrades were made at the school, including a re-styled entranceway, a new central air conditioning system, fire safety systems, exterior façade improvements, a roof, window and door replacements, and state-of-the-art classrooms featuring Wi-Fi access.

“It’s such a lovely place,” Reid said.

The ceremony was billed “From Renovation to Innovation,” since the school employs different programs and styles of learning. Pikesville was named one of three Lighthouse Schools in 2016 and one of two schools in Baltimore County that offer the Advanced Placement Capstone diploma.

Lighthouse Schools receive individual digital learning devices for students; one-to-one personalized and blended learning; and create an innovative, comprehensive digital learning culture.

During the ceremony, school officials and politicians expressed pride about how the project was finished early and under budget.

“When you open up a new school, you’re creating a brand new culture,” Dance said. “There’s a phenomenal culture already here that exists at Pikesville. I was excited we were able to cut the ribbon the right way. We’ve got central air [conditioning], upgraded HVAC, electrical plumbing, all that’s taken care of. Academically, kids have brand new, state-of-the-art security and technology. They’re one-to-one here in terms of computers to students, and it’s exciting.”

Kamenetz said 77 percent of the funding for the project came from the county. He said this is part of an effort to modernize county schools.

This $1.3 billion county investment involves building 15 new schools, making additions to 11 others along with installing Wi-Fi technology, and public safety features that give students what Kamenetz called a “modern learning environment.”

“We’re really excited with the fantastic renovation,” Kamenetz said.

State Sen. Robert A. Zirkin (D-11th), himself a Pikesville High alumnus, said that the renovation will help the Pikesville community at large.

“We have a lot of aging infrastructure, and this was part of it,” Zirkin said. “To have essentially a brand new school, to some extent, this is the anchor of the community. This in particular is the anchor of Pikesville, and to have a beautiful state-of-the-art school is a vital part of any community – and certainly this one.”

Del. Shelly L. Hettleman (D-11th) said she was thrilled to see her alma mater looking good.

Hettleman said she believes that the new look and all of the new technology makes Pikesville a different and improved place.

“It’s really thrilling to see the renovation and the total re-creation of the school,” she said. “The physical changes seem to have ingested a whole new spiritual and emotional energy here. The outward appearance definitely is reflected in the inward feelings of the students and the faculty.”

At the ceremony, balloons – many of which were purple and white, the colors of the school—were positioned near the entrance to the new walkway in front of the building.

In addition, a reception took place in the cafeteria after the ceremony, while students and staff led visitors on tours.

“Not even the impending rain and storms could dampen our spirits on this very joyous occasion,” Reid said. “Today, we commemorate a collective work that is nothing short of inspirational.”

Jeff Seidel is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.

 

 

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