Plans for former North Carroll High School see support from town, officials at Hampstead meeting

Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2, was applauded Tuesday night by members of the Hampstead community and the town's mayor and council regarding future plans for the former North Carroll High School, with Mayor Christopher Nevin saying Weaver was "making lemonade out of some really sour lemons."

Weaver, along with Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees and Director of Carroll County Recreation and Parks Jeff Degitz, came out Tuesday to the Hampstead town meeting — which was a full house — to make a presentation about plans for the community's former school. North Carroll, along with New Windsor Middle and Charles Carroll Elementary schools were closed at the end of the 2015-16 school year.


Commissioners Doug Howard, R-District 5, and Weaver, whose district includes the North Carroll building, presented a concept plan at the beginning of March that would relocate the Carroll County Public Schools 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.

On Tuesday, Degitz, DeWees and Weaver reiterated those plans and gave an update on their progression.

The letter told board members the county is moving forward with plans to relocate the school system’s central office to the former North Carroll High School.

"It's pretty much our building now to deal with," Weaver said Tuesday. "We have some great athletic fields. We have a beautiful stadium out here."

A turf field and continued usage of the former school means more usage for the county than before, because now the community doesn't have to work around school sports and activities, he said.

Degitz detailed different advertising opportunities, ranging from $2,500 to $40,000 per year with discounts for pre-payment for 10-year terms. Areas where advertising will be sold include complex naming rights — including roadside signage and logo on 50-yard line — stadium press box, track, main-field scoreboard, concession building, ticket booth and adjacent baseball dugout.

"This is an opportunity to get that turf field. It'll be used by all different rec councils. It'll be used by all communities," he said. "We want to see the building used."

DeWees spoke about using the school somewhat as a northern branch to house his criminal investigations team, and also about the newly created police training academy.


"I needed space, and I needed it badly," he said.

And, DeWees said, he needed a place to train officers, and didn't have time to wait for academies in other areas to have space open up.

"A lot of people are really interested in sending their academy recruits to us," he said, and added that they have their first class planned to begin in November.

Despite these plans moving forward, there has been friction with the Board of Education over the move, something that was brought up at Tuesday's meeting.

And while in August the two groups did eventually agree to meet to discuss the move — after a back-and-forth in which commissioners refused to meet after the BOE broached the possibility of taking legal action — no such meeting has occurred.


Commissioners sent a letter in September telling board members the county is moving forward with plans to relocate the school system's central office to the former school, giving them a summer 2019 deadline.

"Right now we're moving forward with everything," Weaver said. "The facility is going to stay the same basically."

And, he said, it won't be changed so much that if it needs to be a school again it can't be.

"I think we're gonna need it again; it's just [a matter of] when," Weaver said.

Weaver said in regard to the school board's desire to look into a new facility for the central office, "there's going to be no new buildings."

The matter was also brought up by Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5, who was in attendance Tuesday. The Board of Education, excluding board member Marsha Herbert, he said, has indicated a fair amount of hostility toward the move. Haven asked how the community can let it be known it doesn't support a new building for the CCPS central office.

Many members of the community asked questions at Tuesday's meeting, and many also gave support to Weaver, among them Hampstead's mayor.

"What Dick is doing is really an efficient repurposing of a building," Nevin said. "When the day comes, we can convert that building back to its rightful purpose, which is a school."