Some students at Woodlawn High School are attending classes in a dozen trailers this fall as work continues on a $39 million remodeling that will, among other things, add air conditioning to the 56-year-old-school.
“Students are getting very excited about the idea of it looking new and feeling new,” Principal Georgina Aye said.
The renovation, which has been underway since late June, includes mechanical and technology system upgrades, architectural improvements, renovations of some areas of the school such as the media center and administrative and guidance offices.
School and county officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project late last month.
By the project’s planned completion date in December 2019, 80 percent of the school will be new, Aye said.
To accommodate the construction, some classes are being taught in 12 trailers while work is done on classrooms. Crews are renovating the “technology wing,” she said, demolishing and redoing 14 classrooms.
There are 1,479 students enrolled at the school.
Air conditioning is being added in phases as sections of the school are renovated, Aye said. The entire school is expected to be air conditioned by the end of 2018, she said.
Woodlawn is one of 13 schools in the county without air conditioning, down from 90 schools in 2010, according to the county’s website.
Air conditioning in schools sparked a battle last year between County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and the Board of Public Works, which authorizes state funds for school construction and includes the governor, treasurer and comptroller.
The board withheld $10 million in construction funds, restoring them only when the county submitted a plan to air condition all its schools within four years.
The Woodlawn renovation is part of a broader county push to renovate aging schools and relieve overcrowding, $1.3 billion program dubbed “Schools for our Future.”
“With this $39 million comprehensive renovation of Woodlawn High School, students will see tremendous improvements in their overall learning environment, including air conditioning and a transformation of the school library,” Kamenetz said in an emailed statement from spokeswoman Ellen Kobler.
The renovation will also improve facilities for the Early College Program, a news release said. The magnet program, in its first year and the first of its kind in the county, allows students to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from the Community College of Baltimore County.
A 2014 facilities assessment gave the school a score of 2.38 out of 5, citing worn finishes, water damage and accessibility issues.
After the renovation, Aye said the school will be “very fresh, very clean, very technology-driven.”
“The school will not look anything like it looks right now,” Aye said.