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Stadium group hires consultant

December 08, 2003|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

A committee working to build a stadium at North Hagerstown High School has hired a fund-raising consultant.

North High Principal Robert T. "Bo" Myers said Nancy C. Saidis & Associates of Mechanicsburg, Pa., east of Carlisle, Pa., will investigate whether enough money can be raised in the community to build the stadium.

The firm is scheduled to submit a report to the committee by late January, Myers said. The committee has raised $25,000 to pay for the study, he said.

When the stadium proposal was announced in April 2002, the cost was estimated at $2.1 million.

The latest estimate, Myers said, is $3.1 million.

North High uses School Stadium at South Hagerstown High School because it does not have a stadium of its own.

If the report says the community will financially support the project, a fund-raising campaign will run until about May 2005, Myers said. The stadium would open later that year.

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If the report comes up negative, the committee will have to decide what to do next.

The committee hopes that private contributions will cover the bulk of the costs, but it also has talked to the Maryland Stadium Authority about funding, Myers said.

On Nov. 20, representatives of the stadium committee talked about the project with the Washington County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly.

Although someone mentioned the state's Interagency Committee on School Construction during a discussion about funding, it's an unlikely source, Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, said during a telephone interview.

The Washington County Board of Education would have to approve a request for funding from the Interagency Committee on School Construction, Shank said. Right now, the School Board has many millions of dollars in other projects as higher priorities, he said.

Shank said other possibilities are the state's Program Open Space fund - despite cuts it has faced - and the state Department of Natural Resources' Community Parks and Playgrounds Program.

A bond is another option, he said.

Shank, the delegation chairman, asked Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, and Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, to investigate further.

Myers said naming rights might be sold, as well.

The committee will meet with the Hagerstown Mayor and City Council and the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday to update both groups on the proposal.

Besides the $25,000 cash for the fund-raising study, the committee has received $300,000 in pledges for construction work, Myers said.

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