Baltimore City school officials are considering moving from their long-time headquarters on North Avenue—the building that once housed Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. But it’s unclear when, or if, that will happen.
Alison Perkins-Cohen, the school system’s chief of staff, told city council members in a budget meeting Thursday, the idea to move was related to the school system’s one hundred thirty million dollar budget shortfall announced in January. They are looking for ways to cut costs.
“Our conditions for this would be that it is cost effect where it’s actually going to be cheaper for us to move or cost neutral for us to move," said Perkins-Cohen.
Perkins-Cohen said the headquarters site at Calvert and North avenues has been looked at for redevelopment. Over the past three years the school system has seen a 16 percent decline central office staff, and a four percent decline in students. Perkins-Cohen said that’s not ideal.
“So is there a better location for us. That could potentially provide, you know, space that would be more conducive to our work, and maybe be closer to some of our schools," said Perkins-Cohen.
Ashley Wallace, deputy director of Central Baltimore Partnership, is working with BCPS to manage the request for proposal. Wallace said BCPS received three bids to conduct a three-part cost analysis study after sending out a request for proposals.
The three-part study consists of a property assessment and work space needs of North Avenue, cost-benefit analysis with potential locations which could include staying, and looking at highest and best use to understand development options for the current property.
Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate services firm, along with JRS Architectual Firm won the bid for a little under $100,000. The study is expected to be completed in August, after which recommendations will be presented to BCPS, the mayor's office, and city council for review and final decision.