Last night, 23 September, at the Baltimore City School Board meeting, we were informed that the School Board has approved the design scheme for John Eager Howard School (JEH) that was selected through the community engagement process.
The design scheme needs three more levels of approval that will occur between now and December 2014, but we have confidence that the preferred design scheme will receive those approvals. An RFP will be issued to select the architects for the full design of the facility after the final approval is received. Baltimore City Public Schools anticipates that RFP being released in December 2014.
Several John Eager Howard School parents and staff, and community members from the School Design & Advocacy Team, and Baltimore Education Coalition members were present. Robyn Williams, a Reservoir Hill resident and JEH parent, Courtney Bettle, a Reservoir Hill resident, and Rick Gwynallen of Reservoir Hill Improvement Council addressed the School Board emphasizing the importance of robust community engagement in every community where a school is being redeveloped.
At present, close to 600 people have participated in the John Eager Howard School community engagement process.
The architects that worked on the design schemes for JEH has expressed that having an organized community initiative and high levels of community input was very helpful to them in preparing designs that would meet community needs. We think the process has demonstrated that the involvement of parents and other community members in the decisions that affect their families and communities is not only a good thing to do, but that their input is valuable and insightful.
We thank everyone who participated – you made it possible to get to this point.