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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University July 25, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 40
New Home for SPSBE Programs

Amy Wilson, instructor in the Teacher Preparation Department, in the three-story central stairwell of Seton Court, located just south of the Homewood campus.

Graduate Division of Education readies for move to Seton Court

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

A nearly 100-year-old city landmark will soon become the home for SPSBE's Graduate Division of Education's Baltimore-based programs.

In January, Education Division faculty and staff are scheduled to move into Seton Court, a 73,000-square-foot building on North Charles Street located between 28th and 29th streets, just south of the university's Homewood campus. Extensive renovations on the building, the former Seton High School, began this month. Currently, the Education Division occupies space in Whitehead Hall, Shaffer Hall and a townhouse located on East 29th Street.

Ralph Fessler, SPSBE dean, said that the new facility will help the division's Baltimore-based programs better meet the service needs of both the students and the community.

"This beautiful building gives us a dedicated space to consolidate our Baltimore-based education programs," Fessler said. "It will also allow us to prepare our students to use the latest technologies, which we want our teachers to use in schools."

The renovated four-story building will feature six "smart" classrooms; five seminar/classrooms; two conference classrooms; a Technovations Lab, where students will be able to prepare digital lessons and work on their electronic portfolios; a computer lab; a gallery with computer workstations; a counseling suite; student and faculty lounges; and 36 offices. All classrooms, halls and the gallery will feature wireless Internet service.

Read and Company Architects of Baltimore will lead the structure's renovation. A.R. Marani, a Baltimore-based contractor, has been selected as the construction manager for the project.

SPSBE will take up the building's first two floors. The Johns Hopkins University Press will occupy some of the third floor with its Production, Marketing and Circulation departments. The Milton S. Eisenhower Library will occupy space on the fourth floor for its Entrepreneurial Library Program. Current plans are for the MSEL to take occupancy in February and the Press in March.

Seton Court will soon house the Baltimore-based programs of SPSBE's Graduate Division of Education and some offices of the Eisenhower Library and JHU Press.

The Graduate Division of Education offers programs for the preparation and continuing development of teachers, administrators, special educators and counselors. The division is organized into the departments of Teacher Development and Leadership, Teacher Preparation, Special Education, and Counseling and Human Services.

The division currently engages in more than a dozen partnership programs in Baltimore City, including the Professional Development School program for teacher preparation at Dunbar High School and Maree Garnett Elementary School; the Baltimore City Teaching Residency program, which recruits outstanding individuals locally and nationally to teach in the city's public school system; and the Urban School Counseling Program, which trains individuals at various city elementary and secondary schools in the counseling of multicultural and at-risk populations.

In addition to Baltimore, the division offers classes and programs on the Montgomery County Campus and at the Columbia Center.

Edward Pajak, chair of the Department of Teacher Development and Leadership, said that the building will allow SPSBE to better serve the Greater Baltimore area.

"We always had a strong urban mission, and what this facility will do is raise the visibility of the education programs, both within the region and on the Homewood campus," Pajak said. "It's a building that will make our internal operations work more smoothly and allow us to greatly enhance our service, such as consolidating and expanding our counseling services.

The building opened in 1908 as Seton High School. The school closed in 1988 and was later sold and converted into offices. Johns Hopkins purchased the property in April 2003 from Sheppard Pratt Investment.

Johns Hopkins will preserve the historical integrity of the building, which features two wings, a three-story central grand stairwell, skylights, wide corridors and glass transoms. The prominent, yet deteriorating, porches on the building's north facade will be torn down and rebuilt. The structure also will be made more handicapped accessible. Some of the building's religious artifacts, left from its days as a Catholic high school, will remain in order to retain its historical identity.

Amy Wilson, an instructor in the Teacher Preparation Department since 1999 and a member of the Seton Court planning committee, said that the division's staff and faculty are eager to move into the new space.

"The guiding mission in this effort was to finally have a home for all of our education classes," she said. "We are really excited about the designated space and technology we are now going to have at our disposal to offer our graduate education students."

Wilson said that having a dedicated space signifies a major step forward.

"Our division has been reaching out to Baltimore City in the past five years, and moving here draws attention to all of the things we are doing in urban education," Wilson said. "We are continuing to grow and continuing to partner with city schools to improve learning outcomes for students."


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