Mental health may improve as new building fixes decades old design issues

Madelena Lapinski, News Editor

A $160 million dollar project, the new Dulaney High School building, is finally underway after years of hesitation. Agreeing on the necessity of the new building, the county, the Board of Education and Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) are working with the state to get the money needed to fund construction. With planning still in the primary stages, principal meetings are being held to discuss a design for the new Dulaney building that satisfies all academic, extracurricular and athletic needs. 

According to PTSA President Yara Cheikh, the earliest date to begin construction would be the fall of 2025, and BCPS estimates that the building would be finished by 2028. Luckily, it is likely that classes could occur in the new building only two years into construction, as the additions in the final year will be less invasive. Until then, classes and clubs would continue in the current building with minimal disruption, though sports would have to be relocated off campus due to disruptions to the fields. 

While the location and layout are not specified, there are certain issues with the current school that the new design expects to fix.

“Dulaney High School has the largest deficit of space of any school in the County with a 47,000 sq. ft. deficit. New school designs will include more spaces for collaboration, updated technology and curriculum driven classrooms,” said Cheikh.

Beyond the layout, there are many other ways to improve the interior design of the school. Aman Bhogal, a senior AP research student, is investigating ways to make schools more conducive to learning and improved mental health. 

“There’s a lot of artificial light, it’s really dim, the windows are closed, and stuff like that actually has a link to higher stress levels. With the CDC and APA recording that teens have higher stress levels than adults that work in office buildings, then why don’t we have those better facilities?” said Bhogal. 

He suggests simple changes like curved architecture, vibrant colors, natural light and biophilic architecture which integrates plants and nature into design, all of which Cheikh assures will be included in the new building. 

For current students, classes in this new and improved school are unlikely. However, there is a lot to anticipate for the future students of the new Dulaney High School building.