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Built Upon a Dream: St. Elizabeth School extreme makeover

Posted: 9:52 PM, Sep 03, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-13 13:35:25-05

WMAR-2 News is continuing what's now an annual tradition allowing non-profits to help improve facilities around the state.

We call it, Built Upon a Dream.

About  $500,000 went into this a new structure that's just beyond the St. Elizabeth School. Local contractors and businesses were able to help WMAR see the vision all the way through to be able to help the students learn life development skills and so much more.

"It's so child-friendly now. It's cozy. It's nurturing. I was up here last night staging and I actually wanted to spend the night in here, I didn't want to go home," said Michael Thorne, Executive Director of Built Upon a Dream.

Contractors and businesses put in their sweat and time for this. The old laundry room at the school has been renovated for a multi-purpose space for life skills. For the schools' students with special needs.

"This was their laundry building and it was also the power plant for the convent and the school. So when we took it over, we had humongous boilers in the basement the size of minivans -- two of them -- that we had to get out through a narrow doorway. We had to call a demolition company for that. It was quite an undertaking," said Thorne.

Thorne says the journey was long and to see the almost finished space is rewarding.

"Part of the challenge here with a hundred-year-old building is, although they're built very solidly, they also have very thick walls and very 'over the top' type structural issues," said Arn Halpin, CEO of Direct Electric Services.

The project holding a special place in the hearts of those in the planning process, and even the contractors.

"The school has done so much for my daughter Natalie, who has been attending here for two years and going on the third year. It was a perfect opportunity to go ahead and get involved with something that was close to our heart."

It's a space Thorne says will help prepare his students for the next chapter.

"We had, actually, several ideas in mind for this. It was going to be anywhere from a daycare center, to a life skills classroom, to a horticulture lab, and so we combined most of those ideas into one."