Current and future McDonogh Middle School students, donors, and school leaders gathered Nov. 6 in Owings Mills for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Middle School, a state-of-the-art middle school building expected to open in approximately 18 months.
Michael Greenebaum, a longtime McDonogh parent and trustee, pledged $8 million to the project on behalf of the Stewart and Marlene Greenebaum Family Foundation in early 2019. In making the lead gift, the Greenebaum family challenged the greater McDonogh community to come together and raise the remaining funds to make the much-needed building a reality.
“The Greenebaum family name stands for loyalty, commitment, hard work, and service,” said Head of School Dave Farace. “These are traits that we aim to teach our students each and every day. It is both fitting and appropriate that our new middle school will bear this special name.”
“My parents would be so proud of all the donors who followed our gift with their own generous gifts. Together, we are building a stronger McDonogh,” Michael Greenebaum shared during the ceremony.
He then turned to the students. “When I look at all of your faces, I am overwhelmed with emotion because it is for you and future generations that this new Middle School is being built,” he said. “I am not addressing you as kids or students. I see future doctors, cancer researchers, engineers, and yes, maybe even a World Series MVP for the Baltimore Orioles.”
Designed by Bowie Gridley Architects of Washington, D.C., the $25 million, 67,000 square-foot building is being constructed by Chesapeake Contracting Group. The plans include a 21st century library and a learning center, visual and performing arts spaces, and a makerspace — all centrally located under one roof to enhance cross-curricular experiences as well as interactions among students and faculty.
Participating in the ceremonial first dig were Greenebaum and his wife, Adele; Head of School Farace; President of the Board of Trustees Robert L. Young III; Head of Middle School Darren Ford; Associate Head of Middle School Jennifer Bowders; and seventh grade students Langston Riding and Mark Cherches.
Following the formal ceremony, Greenebaum joined the Middle School Rock Shop band on guitar in playing “Taking Care of Business” by Bachman–Turner Overdrive (Greenbaum is an accomplished guitarist). The fourth grade drum corps also entertained guests.
The new middle school building is replacing the Finney Building, a 1930s-era structure named in tribute to Dr. John M. T. Finney, a longtime member and president of the Board of Trustees. The Finney name will be preserved on campus, however: the quad in front of the new middle school building will be refurbished and named the Finney Senior Quad.