$3 million rec center announced at Padonia International Elementary

A new 14,260-square-foot Padonia Community/Police Athletic League Center at Padonia International Elementary School will allow the school’s current gym to be used as classroom space, Baltimore County officials said Tuesday.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance announced the $3 million community center Tuesday, which will replace an existing PAL center across the street and include a gymnasium and stage, officials said.

“With this project and across the board, we are working collaboratively with Dr. Dance and his leadership team to creatively share resources in a way that benefits students and teachers as well as offering greater opportunities for after-school activities for the school system and our communities,” Kamenetz said in a statement.

According to the news release, construction on the center will begin in January 2014 and will take one year. Funding for the community center was announced earlier this year when Kamenetz released his FY 2014 budget, though the concept of marrying that funding to overcrowding relief at Padonia International is a new development.

Padonia International currently has a state-rated capacity of 311 students, but is projected to open the 2013-14 school year with 490 students, according to school system data. It is unclear how many seats would be provided in the new project.

“Once again, our outstanding relationship with Baltimore County government has yielded a significant win for our schools and our community,” Dance said in a statement. “We have been working extremely closely with our central area families to find solutions to elementary school overcrowding. As we finalize solutions for adding additional seats in the central area to present to the community, this will be a significant part of the package.”

BCPS is currently working on a ten-year infrastructure plan to address its aging and overcrowding school cache.

In a statement, Councilman Todd Huff, who represents the 3rd District, said he’s “very excited by the project

“The fact that this project will also be able to provide a stage and gym for the school system and recreation programs freeing up space for additional seats at Padonia International is icing on the cake,” Huff said. “I appreciate County Executive Kamenetz's support for this project.”

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