Coppin State University and Baltimore Heritage have submitted the building - possibly America's oldest orphanage - to the National Register of Historic Places, a move that Coppin Heights Community Development Corp Executive director Gary Rodwell said is meant to show they're "making a concerted effort to preserve this jewel."
discussed their efforts in the May Urbanite and told the Brew that Coppin
"currently remains committed to preserving the orphan asylum until such time that we can create a development plan" that makes sense.
So what does Rodwell
think should happen now to the magnificent hulking 137-year-old building, possibly the oldest orphanage in the United States?
"There has to be a plan with 40,000 square feet that are historic in nature...that's in concert with the University, neighborhood and the region," he
A small business incubator, a training center for specified job opportunities, senior housing, or a home for state or local agencies are all uses that Rodwell
could imagine fitting with the personality of the space.
spends $8,000 to $10, 000 a month to keep the structure from further deteriorating, Rodwell
Buildings have to be boarded up, the roof has collapsed during snow storms, and steel has been added in lieu of wooden support to "keep things together and up."
"Naturally given these times and finances...that's a pretty hefty commitment...so there have been times, prior to this last president coming on board, when Coppin
has looked to remove the University from having to bear the brunt of that burden."
Now, though, Rodwell said, despite the challenges, current president Reginald S. Avery and Baltimore Heritage are committed to making sure this piece of Baltimore's cultural and architectural history is protected.