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EBDI will break ground Monday on $40M charter school

A $40 million public charter school at the 88-acre East Baltimore Development Inc. site is scheduled to break ground Monday.

Construction of the 7-acre campus of the Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School is expected to officially begin at 5 p.m. in the 2100 block of Ashland Avenue

A school has been operating as the East Baltimore Community School at the EBDI site for three years. This year, it enrolled 260 students in kindergarten and five elementary and middle school grades and was run by a partnership between the Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University approved last year by the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners.

The school is now located in portable trailers on the grounds of the former Elmer A. Henderson Elementary School at Wolfe and East Chase streets.

Also scheduled for a groundbreaking Monday is the 28,000-square foot Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center, to be located on the new charter school campus.

The Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School will be 90,000 square feet and house about 540 students in grades 1-8 and kindergarten. There will be an enrollment of about 180 pre-kindergarten students in the early childhood center.

Students will be current and former residents of the Middle East community, offspring of Hopkins employees who work at the East Baltimore medical campus and other students from around Baltimore, if space allows.

“We are planning a high-impact high-quality school that will provide the children of East Baltimore with an outstanding educational experience that will prepare them for success in school and life,” said David Andrews, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Education. “We are also excited that other Hopkins schools, such as the Peabody Institute and schools of medicine, nursing, and public health will join us in this effort as we look at meeting the needs of the whole child.”

The school complex is expected to be completed in the fall of 2013. It will be located in the Phase II area of the $1.8 billion redevelopment project.

The facility is being funded through federal New Markets Tax Credits, private donations and foundation grants as well as tax increment financing bonds sold by the city to private investors.

The community school is currently run by a board that includes Dr. David G. Nichols, vice dean for education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; former Baltimore Deputy Mayor Andrew Frank, now special advisor on economic development to the president of Johns Hopkins; Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Christopher Shea, CEO of EBDI and state Sen. Nathanial McFadden.