Architects presented on Tuesday the first version of design plans for the $27.5 million addition and renovation project at Dumbarton Middle School to the Baltimore County Board of Education's Building and Contracts Committee.
The plan will include handicap-accessibility throughout the school, improve traffic flow and student safety on the school's campus, and renovate nearly the entire interior of the building to 21st-century standards, architect Gary Mosesman of Smolen Emr Ilkovitch Architects said during the presentation.
"It's a much-need project," said Pete Dixit, executive director of physical facilities. "The building is an old building."
Since it was built in 1956, the school has undergone several renovation projects — most recently a systemic renovation to improve heating in 2004, kitchen upgrades in 2007 and window and door replacement in 2008.
The addition, which was funded last spring in the fiscal year 2014 capital budget by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, will add a new two-story entranceway and foyer that will house administrative offices on the first floor, and a new media center space on the second. Additionally, the activity room adjacent the gym will be expanded to add more floor space and a higher roof.
The front addition, which will go near the current main entrance, will create a safer and more visible gateway for visitors and students, Mosesman said. Currently, the school's foyer creates a blind spot between the video cameras at the door and the office where visitors must check in.
The new office will face out and provide sightlines to the entrance. The new foyer will feature a larger staircase to the second floor and improved ramps for mobility to the school's middle level.
Many of the other improvements will be aimed at making the school compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The renovation will add an elevator to the second floor, the bathrooms will be renovated and the classroom doors, which are below both fire and ADA standards, will also be replaced.
Numerous classrooms will also be renovated and moved, Mosesman said. The school's art classrooms haven't been updated or moved since the school opened, but a new art wing will be outfitted near the music wing. The old art classrooms, which are in an academic wing, will be turned into classrooms to keep the academic disciplines together.
Similarly, the media center is located among academic classrooms. That space will be reclaimed as classroom space and renovated as computer labs until those become obsolete and can be used as classroom space.
The entire school infrastructure will be updated to accommodate much-needed air conditioning and technological improvements, Mosesman said.
Outside the building, Mosesman said several improvements are planned to separate car and bus traffic. The school's main parking area currently mixes with the bus loop, and the student drop-off area behind the school is far from the back of the school.
The proposed plans would re-grade and improve the front access so all of the school's buses can fit in the loop, while parking would be added in the rear of the school and the drop-off area would move closer to the school's rear entrance.
Mosesman said no parking would be added or lost in the project, but that the bus loop could be used as parking on weekends to accommodate the campus' popular recreation programs.
According to Dixit, the design and contract bidding phase will be completed in August 2014, with construction scheduled to finish in August 2016.