DUNDALK — Labor Day has come and gone and students have come back to school once more. The new Dundalk Elementary School proudly opened its doors on Sept. 3, with a visit from new superintendent for Baltimore County Public Schools, Dr. Darryl L. Williams.
“Since school is in session, I want to be where the excitement is happening,” he said. “It’s happening throughout the county. It’s my goal to visit all 175 schools and programs. I did a little bit of that during the summer and of course we have to do it the first week of school. The excitement of our students, and parents, and staff, we want to see that first hand. We’re excited that school is back in session and I hope our students have a good year.”
Last year, the Dundalk community joined together at the new Dundalk Elementary School to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new building.
Built in 1925, the former Dundalk Elementary has been home to hundreds of elementary school students. Although the 93-year-old school was a part of Dundalk’s heritage, Baltimore County understood that upgrades current with today’s needs are crucial.
“This is personal for me,” said Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. “It’s sad to see the old school go in some ways, but I’m glad we’re both preserving the legacy with the facade, but also giving our kids the clean, safe, modern school that they deserve and that the community of Dundalk deserves. It’s a strong reminder of why we’re pushing so had for school construction money at the General Assembly this year and hopeful to replicate this success with more elementary and middle schools through Baltimore County as well as the high schools that are long overdue as well.”
The new Dundalk Elementary School is directly next from the old facility, which is still being torn down.
“What a great opportunity for our residents and for our children to come to a brand new school. It even smells like a new school,” Del. Ric Metzgar, R-6, explained. “The enthusiasm that I see here today with our children and the excitement means we can carry that enthusiasm and let us continue that.”
The new school will bring state-of-the-art technology and security, air conditioning and recognition of the history and pride that has come from Dundalk Elementary, according to former School Board Chair Edward J. Gilliss.
“To see the transformation is great for our students and staff to see, the history but also the new beginnings and the new facilities,” Williams said.
Del. Bob Long, R-6, thinks the new Dundalk Elementary is “great” for the community.
“You can look around and see all the hard work with this new school. It’s a huge success,” he said.
According to resident Janeen Young, the new building is “beautiful”.
“I have six kids that go here, so it’s a great school,” Young explained. “My kids were more excited to come back to school. They’ve been coming up all week to play on the basketball court and the playground and they were just really excited to be here, so I think it’s a great change for them. And they were happy to be out of the hot trailers. The old school didn’t have air conditioning, and the trailers were more hot than the actual building.”
“I’m just as excited as the kids are,” BCPS Board of Education member Rodney McMillion explained. “To see the transition across the street, where they’re tearing down the old building, and then walk across to this new facility, it’s very, very exciting for me.”
Amanda Mars said her children were “extremely excited, a little nervous of course, but excited,” to start school in the new building
“There’s always been a positive energy in both of the schools, with the teachers and everything, I mean they’re just amazing but everyone was so excited today. It’s what they all deserve, to be in this nice space, learning,” Mars said.
As Parker gave a tour of the new school to all the government and Baltimore County Public School officials, he kept repeating how the new building has built in qualities that will enrich their students ability to learn and appreciate the things they’re learning.
“Perseverance, commitment, determination; these are just, in a few words, virtues that describe our journey and where we are now,” Dundalk Elementary School Principal Michael Parker said.
“The new building won’t define who we are, but it will enhance what we already do,” he added.