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School Board backs Hancock gym plan

December 07, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

The Washington County Board of Education endorsed a plan Tuesday to build a 5,000-square-foot addition to serve as an auxiliary gymnasium at Hancock Middle/Senior High School.

The School Board agreed to give $80,000 toward the project, which is expected to cost $450,000 with equipment included. The Washington County Commissioners are contributing and Hancock has raised money through private donations.

Currently, one gym serves about 336 students in seven grade levels. It is used for boys' and girls' sports, including junior varsity and varsity wrestling and basketball, at all times of the day.

Hancock is 15 miles west of Clear Spring and 25 miles from a YMCA, according to School Board Director of Facilities Management Dennis McGee. It has few recreational opportunities outside school, he said.

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The existing gym has no designated space for middle school students, according to McGee.

Hancock had sought a larger facility of 8,400 square feet similar to the gym at South Hagerstown High School. At an estimated $80 per square foot, it was not affordable. A committee of the town's mayor, manager, teachers and coaches agreed on a smaller plan.

The auxiliary gym will have an energy-efficient heating system, a wood floor, and block walls, McGee said. It will be on a flat courtyard area next to the existing gym across the main hall from the cafeteria.

The new gym will be about 4,180 square feet, with two 224-square-foot toilet rooms, 98 square feet of circulation space, an office and storage space of 112 square feet each. It will also have a separate entrance leading to the east parking lot.

Self-contained restrooms will allow the gym to be used on weekends without opening the school, according to McGee.

The gym will feature wall-mounted basketball backboards and goals with floor markings. From one basket to another, the court will be about 60 feet long. That's not high-school size, but it's almost the same as the YMCA's court, McGee said.

School Board member B. Marie Byers said the gym should be bigger. "Once you build something, it's going to be there. It's not going to change," she said.

"We're willing to build it larger if we can find the money," said Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr.

The School Board will submit the education specifications to the state's Interagency Committee on School Construction for administrative review. The project is locally funded, but board members said it may qualify for maintenance funding.

The School Board will hire an architect, put the project out to bid and begin building in the fall, McGee said.

"We think it's ready to go," said Bartlett.

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