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New recrutes are reflected in the window as the new police training academy in the old North Carroll High School building in Hampstead is opened Thursday November 2, 2017.
New recrutes are reflected in the window as the new police training academy in the old North Carroll High School building in Hampstead is opened Thursday November 2, 2017. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Two years after Carroll County Public Schools voted to close North Carroll High, New Windsor Middle and Charles Carroll Elementary schools, the county spent the majority of 2017 grappling with and figuring out what to do with the excess buildings.

North Carroll High School brought some of the biggest changes, and disagreements, in 2017.

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In March, commissioners Doug Howard, R-District 5, and Richard Weaver, R-District 2, whose district includes the North Carroll building, presented a concept plan that would relocate the CCPS Board of Education and a portion of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office to the former high school in Hampstead, and allow for use of the facility by the Department of Recreation and Parks. Since that time, the sheriff's office has also requested, and been approved, to bring a training facility to the former school, which opened in November.

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office Training Academy held an open house and a dedication of the C. Richard Weaver Flag Court on Thursday evening at their location in the former North Carroll High School.

The Board of Education pushed back against the move for months, with the two boards drafting letters to one another and the commissioners refusing to meet with the school board after possible litigation was brought up.

In addition to the training facility, and movement of the school board, the commissioners also approved $500,000 for a turf field at the former school, for which the county has been working to raise an additional $500,000. The county has discussed selling the naming rights of the complex itself, though the stadium field is already named for longtime North Carroll coach and athletic director Ed Powelson and that won’t be changed. The county also discussed selling advertising on places like the concession stands, the ticket booth, the press box and more.

The recently closed Charles Carroll Elementary School opened its doors for an open house so former faculty and students could take a last look around before the school is torn down in the near future.
The recently closed Charles Carroll Elementary School opened its doors for an open house so former faculty and students could take a last look around before the school is torn down in the near future. (By Paul W. Gillespie / Carroll County Times)

Charles Carroll Elementary

In April, commissioners voted unanimously to raze the current structure and build a new facility for $3.5 million, with a larger gym and multipurpose rooms for the community to use.

Two possible plans were unveiled at the end of February, one to demolish only portions of the current facility while keeping the 1974 addition with the gym, or to go with a new structure.

The plan commissioners went with involves tearing down the old facility and calls for a new, 12,000-square-foot structure. The building would be one story and would include a 6,800-square-foot gym with bleachers, as well as two multipurpose rooms.

Since that vote, the county held two walk-throughs of the building at the end of June, allowing the community to see the structure one last time and to say goodbye. The county also held a liquidation auction on Sept. 23 to sell leftover equipment like desks, chairs, whiteboards and other interior items that weren’t permanent in the structure.

Scott Moser, deputy director of Carroll County’s Department of Public Works, laid out a two-year timetable in September for the project. Following the auction, a request for proposal will go out for the demolition process, and after that, will come the demolition and design for the new building.

Moser said in September it will cost around $700,000 to demolish the building.

The county is hoping to have the community center — which will be put on the site of the former school once it is torn down — ready and open in summer 2019, Moser said in September.

Moser said via email in mid-December that the county was still on schedule for January, and that “some selective demo has been completed.” The department would be asking commissioners to award contract for the demolition in coming weeks, he said.

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New Windsor Middle

Carroll County was in talks over selling the former New Windsor Middle School building, though the contract for the sale remains in limbo about year after discussions began.

A contract for the sale of the former New Windsor Middle School to Springdale Preparatory School, a new boarding facility in the former Brethren Center in New

As of June 13, there was a draft of an unsigned agreement of purchase and sale for the former school, according to documents received in a Public Information Act Request executed by the Carroll County Times in June. The pending contract was between the county and Springdale Preparatory School, the private school in New Windsor that opened in August. The school is currently located in the former Brethren Service Center.

In June, Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, told the Times the county was working to finalize parameters of a workable contract. But as of mid-December, Linda Esterson, a spokeswoman for Springdale Prep, said via email there were “no updates at this time” about the contract.

Because the agreement of purchase and sale was unsigned, it was not provided in the PIA request and no official amount detailing the purchase price was included.

But an email from County Administrator Roberta Windham on March 7 to County Attorney Tim Burke, and Director of Management and Budget Ted Zaleski discussed selling the building for $6 million.

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Springdale students began school at the end of August, with 24 students in the new facility. The school offers full-time and part-time boarding, or traditional day school. Students range from grades five through 11, though Graham previously told the Times they’d been approved by the Maryland State Department of Education to have a 12th grade in the 2018-2019 school year.

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