Is Towson High School Getting Rebuilt?


On September 29th, Towson High School hosted a Community Stakeholder Meeting. The topic of this meeting: the plans for the future of Towson High School. The school was built in 1873 and has been in use since then. The group SEI, or Smolen-Emr-Ilkovitch Architects, has taken on Towson High for a rebuilding, so in the near future Towson will be changed. The main topic of discussion is how much of Towson to rebuild. Four plans have been created on what to do with the building. Which plan is going to be executed is still up for discussion.


Historical Significance

This discussion can be a touchy subject for some due to the fact that Towson is a historic building. Some of its defining features include the mid-century modern design, landscape and siting, materials, and spaces. The design includes aspects such as a linear plan, flat roof, projecting entrance canopy, and vertical accents. Some unique materials include fieldstone walls, glass block, cut stone sills, and terrazzo flooring. Towson’s best spaces include the lobbies and corridors, auditorium, and gymnasium. Many believe that aspects such as these need to stay preserved and cannot simply be torn down.


Where Are We In The Process?

As of right now, we are in the Analysis part of the planning process. This step involves scope definition and finding historical documentation. The only other step we have completed is Information Gathering, which involves analyzing existing conditions, program goals, and stakeholder input. Next, we will enter the Schematic Design Process, which involves concept development, engineering/technical input, cost estimating, and submitting to BOE State/IAC.


What Is Changing?

The main aspect of what SEI wants to accomplish with the new building of Towson, is adapting the school space to fit a more modern-day learning environment. One example of this is the classroom arrangement. Our current classrooms have a very old fashioned linear arrangement of rows of desks facing the board in addition to table groups. The new plan is to replace this with a more modern feeling that can optimize the classroom space to allow students to reach full learning capacity.

Proposed Solutions

So there are 4 different plans for what the designers are thinking of doing for the rebuild of Towson, each with different levels of demolition. From the first plan to the last one, they advance in how much is being modified. In each plan aside from the last one, they keep the most historically significant aspects of the school, such as the main entrance and the auditorium. The fourth plan is a complete demolition and new school. Each solution has many pros and cons and there are many different opinions on what should be done. Stay tuned for future updates!