Howard schools gain approval from Board of Education to move forward with Hammond High addition

Howard schools gain approval from Board of Education to move forward with Hammond High addition
Hammond High School, located in Columbia, was built in 1976. A third addition is being planned. (Jess Nocera / Howard County Times)

The Howard County Public School System is progressing with its plan to build a two-story classroom addition at Hammond High School, which would increase the school’s capacity by 200 seats.

The addition would increase the school’s total capacity to 1,420 students.


Hammond had a total enrollment of 1,301 students in the 2017-2018 school year with a building capacity for 1,220 students, according to school data. The high school had four portable classrooms to offset its capacity.

Scott Washington, the district’s director of capital planning and construction, and David Fischer, the project manager from SEI Architects, presented Hammond High’s addition schematic design report to the county school board last month.

The school board unanimously approved the design plan at its Feb. 28 meeting.

With the board’s approval, the school system now seeks approval from the state. If approved, construction is slated to begin in June 2020 and be completed in August 2023.

When the Columbia school opened in 1976, it was a 170,980-square-foot, one-story building. As stated in the design report, Hammond will expand to 235,948 square feet and feature a two-story classroom addition.

At this time, the estimated cost of the project is $80 million, as stated in the report.

This will be the third addition for the high school. Hammond underwent additions in 1996 and 2011 and had a minor renovation in 1998.

Fischer described Hammond High as “a rather small site for a high school, about 33 acres … [and] a tight site,” as the building sits very close to property lines on the east and west side as well as to the street.

The school system plans to demolish 30 percent of the existing building, including removing the 1996 addition to provide move practice fields, according to the report.

A secured main entrance vestibule and improved circulation patterns — reconfiguring the bus loop and student drop-off to address traffic issues — are proposed in the plan.

The project looks to create an arts plaza to provide outdoor teaching space off of the school’s art studios, a new outdoor dining area off of the cafeteria, weight training and wrestling rooms, an update to the existing outdoor classroom as well as other additions, according to the report.