When it opens in fall 2013, the Baltimore Design School might be the coolest high school in a hundred-mile radius. Don’t believe me? Consider this:  it will have built-in fashion runways.

Conceived as a counterpart to Baltimore’s highly regarded School for the Arts and co-founded by MICA president Fred Lazarus and state senator Catherine Pugh, the school will allow students to focus on fashion, graphic design, and architecture. When construction is complete, students will be able to take advantage of built-in galleries, studios, fabrication facilities, and, yes, runways. Alongside a normal academic curriculum, students will learn computer-aided drawing, design logos, and study “draping, tailoring, textile investigation, and fine detailing.” About half of students’ classes will be art-oriented.

The school will bring new life to the formerly abandoned Lebow Brothers plant, a 120,000 square foot behemoth in the heart of Station North. The $25 million renovation got underway earlier this summer, and is scheduled to be complete by next year. While Station North has undergone its fair share of development in recent years, this massive repurposing of a formerly derelict building will change the neighborhood in a huge way.

This is what the building’s interior looked like up until last month. Photo courtesy the Real Estate Seen.

A similar public school in New York City was an incubator for such fabulous fashion minds as Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein. No wonder, then, that the school already has one of the longest waiting lists in Baltimore.