The Baltimore County Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $3.969 million contract to demolish the old Carver Center building and replace it with a new set of athletics fields.
"I don't know how anyone can expect a high school to be a high school without sports fields," Lawrence Schmidt, president of the school board, said before the vote. "I think that is an integral part, from my own perspective, of a high school."
The construction of fields and demolition of the old building, which was granted to Roy Kirby & Sons, Inc., is the second phase of construction at the Carver site. In August, students moved into an $88 million schoolhouse with tennis courts and one athletic field.
The upcoming phase will include the demolition of the old building, then the construction a new full-sized game field surrounded by a running track and a second field that includes a baseball diamond and a practice field.
It is unclear when the actual demolition will take place.
At the meeting Tuesday, which was held at the new Carver Center building, Greater Timonium Community Council president Eric Rockel urged the board not to approve the contract.
In addition to financial and environmental reasons, Rockel said the building was too valuable as a swing space to demolish in the face of school overcrowding in the central corridor of Baltimore County.
The old Carver Center building was used last school year to house the Stoneleigh students as its schoolhouse was renovated. Utilizing Carver as a temporary schoolhouse allowed students to avoiding learning in an active construction site, and allowed construction to be completed on an accelerated schedule.
The newly renovated Stoneleigh Elementary will open in August.
Funds were allocated to renovate Dumbarton Middle School in the FY14 Baltimore County budget, and some parents and community leaders hoped Carver would still be available as a swing space to accelerate that project as well.
Superintendent Dallas Dance said earlier this year that the Dumbarton project was too far in the future to keep the building standing and not have athletics fields at the new high school.