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Stadium could bear Callas' name

June 18, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

A group trying to raise $2.3 million to build a stadium at North Hagerstown High School has decided it wants to name the stadium after Hagerstown businessman and philanthropist Michael Callas, North High Principal Robert "Bo" Myers said Thursday.

"It is the right decision and the appropriate decision," Myers said.

Callas, chairman of Callas Contractors, died May 31 at age 83.

On May 26, the North High Boosters Club's Stadium Executive Committee named Callas and Jim Brown as honorary co-chairmen of the stadium capital campaign.

Brown is a former Hagerstown Community College coach, athletic director, administrator and educator.

The Washington County Board of Education in March revised its policy on the naming of school facilities. Under the old policy, facilities could be named only for geographic areas and historic places. Two schools - E. Russell Hicks Middle Schools and Emma K. Doub Elementary School - were named for people prior to adoption of the earlier policy.

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The revision permits the granting of naming rights for schools and facilities that are donated or paid for with private donations but it gives the school board the final say on the naming of any facility.

School Board President Edward Forrest said Thursday he did not expect any opposition to the plan to name the stadium after Callas. The board is scheduled to discuss the matter at a July 20 meeting.

"This is a perfect example of a good way to have the naming of facilities because of the outstanding citizen he was for Washington County and all he has done for the City of Hagerstown and Washington County and the Board of Education," Forrest said.

John Williamson, chairman of the stadium executive committee, last month announced the committee's plan to sell naming rights for the stadium and its components as a way to raise private funds for the project.

The cost of naming rights for the stadium itself was placed at $1 million, he said.

Since Callas' death, his friends, relatives and colleagues have pledged to try to raise $1 million in Callas' name, Myers said. He could not reveal the names of those pledging money, Myers said.

Naming rights will still be available for the stadium components, he said. For example, naming rights for the athletic field are set at $500,000.

North High has used School Stadium at South Hagerstown High School for 46 years because it does not have a stadium of its own.

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