Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects was commissioned by Baltimore County Public Schools to design an addition for Sparks Elementary School (Catonsville, MD), a building Murphy & Dittenhafer originally designed in 1998.

The addition will provide nine new classrooms for third, fourth, and fifth grades, to accommodate a growing student population that has exceeded the original capacity, forcing the need for modular classrooms on the site. It will also include new faculty support areas, storage and utility rooms.

This project is comprised of two phases; the first phase was a comprehensive study of the existing building, systems, and site conditions to determine the feasibility of accommodating the increased student capacity in an addition/renovation. Phase two, which includes final design and construction administration, is underway.

“The approximately 200-seat addition was designed with an aesthetic that is complementary to the existing building while also promoting a 21st century learning environment,” says project manager Lauren Merrill, “with careful consideration of building materials, use of smart technology, design of efficient building systems with ample daylighting, and selection of sustainable and economical finishes.”

Construction on the $2.3 million, 12,134 square foot building addition began in July 2014 and Murphy & Dittenhafer expects construction to be completed in July 2015.

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Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects is an award-winning architectural firm that focuses on planning, interior, and architectural design projects involving new construction, renovation, restoration, and adaptive reuse for historic properties, churches, urban housing, nonprofit organizations, higher education, and libraries. The firm’s offices are located in York, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland. Visit their website at