Ravens-funded renovations to Renaissance Academy unveiled

The Baltimore Sun

Several Baltimore Ravens were on hand at the Renaissance Academy on Monday morning to help unveil $1.5 million in renovations that the team funded after learning of plans to close the West Baltimore school.

Showing off the renovations were Ravens President Dick Cass, tight end Benjamin Watson and former safety Ed Reed along with Mayor Catherine Pugh, schools CEO Sonja Santelises and University of Maryland, Baltimore President Jay Perman.

The renovations include an updated science and arts room; a large student common area to allow classmates to study and socialize; a new food pantry and laundry room for students in need; and an increase in space for social workers and mentors to provide private counseling services.

Renaissance has an intensive student-mentoring program called Seeds of Promise that pairs boys considered to be at risk for dropping out or getting into trouble with male mentors.

The city school system had considered closing the school, which is housed in Booker T. Washington Middle in the Druid Heights-Upton neighborhood, but withdrew the recommendation earlier this year after being swayed by the students’ devotion to the school as well as the Ravens’ donation.

The school had lost several of its students to violence in recent years. One student was fatally stabbed in the school in November 2015, and two other students were fatally shot off-campus in separate incidents in early 2016.

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