The School District of Philadelphia
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Media Contact: Lee Whack



$39 million investment improves 37 classrooms, replaces several critical building systems, and more

PHILADELPHIA –  On Monday, April 3, school and city officials held a press conference to celebrate the beginning of an “Extreme School Makeover” at Murrell Dobbins High School. After the speaking program, school and city officials started the renovation process themselves by hitting an interior classroom wall with a sledgehammer.

“These renovations at Dobbins High School are a $39.1 million investment for the benefit of students, staff and the local community. “They include everything from a massive upgrade to CTE classrooms to essential improvements to the school’s critical systems,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia. “We are thrilled to make this kind of school investment, through our capital improvement program. Our overall goal is to ensure there is a great school close to where all children live and this project will ensure that Dobbins is an even better school for years to come.”

“Philadelphia’s students deserve safe, 21st-century learning environments and I commend the School District for making this significant investment in Dobbins High School,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “I'm confident that these facility enhancements coupled with Dobbins' amazing leadership under Principal Toni Damon, and the expanded resources and supports associated with Dobbins' designation as a Community School, will put Dobbins on its path to becoming a world class institution.”

The renovations will include the following:

  • Complete renovation of the basement through the sixth floor; touching all academic, administrative, and career and technical education spaces
  • Improvements to 37 classrooms with new lighting, paint, interactive white boards, floor refinishing and new student and teacher furnishings
  • Main office will be relocated to the first floor
  • New fitness center will be constructed in the basement  
  • The library will be renovated to become a cyber cafe
  • Critical building systems are also being replaced in the building – including new boilers, a new fire alarm system, upgraded electrical and IT service, and sprinklers
  • All the existing CTE programs (seven in total) at Dobbins will be renovated with new equipment, furnishings, and technology and renovations will allow for four additional ones
Currently, Dobbins has CTE programs in Culinary Arts, Cosmetology, Fashion Design, Barbering, Graphic Design, Business Administration and Sports Marketing/Management. After renovations are complete Dobbins will add programs in Biotechnology, Computer Networking, Digital Media Production and Facility/Property Maintenance.

The duration of this construction project is 24 months, with anticipated completion is March 2019.  The project will be done in phases to minimize impact to students and allowing normal operations to occur.   

Contractors selected for this project include Ernest Bok & Sons, General Contractor; Edward J. Meloney, Mechanical Contractor; Herman Goldner, Plumbing Contractor; CAD Electric, Electrical Contractor; Affordable Fire Protection, Sprinkler.

Dobbins is one 30 CTE high schools in the School District.  All students enrolled at Dobbins are enrolled in a CTE program beginning in 10th grade.  This project seeks to provide modern program space for students and prepare them for college or career opportunities.  Data shows that students enrolled in CTE programs have higher attendance, graduation and college matriculation rates.   Furthermore, upon completion, this project will allow for 600 additional students to attend Dobbins, doubling the enrollment to 1200 students.


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