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Commissioners OK more money for North stadium

May 03, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday pledged an additional $300,000 for the Mike Callas Stadium project at North Hagerstown High School.

The action, approved by a 3-2 vote, will bring the county's total contribution for the project to $750,000 - all from state Program Open Space (POS) dollars.

Commissioners James F. Kercheval, John C. Munson and President Gregory I. Snook voted for making the additional contribution.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell and Commissioner Doris J. Nipps voted against it.

At the recommendation of Kercheval, the majority of the commissioners decided to reduce POS allocations by $300,000 for gymnasium projects at the planned Maugansville and Westfields elementary schools to come up with the money for the North High stadium.

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County Buildings, Grounds and Parks Director Jim Sterling said the cost estimates for the Maugansville and Westfields gym projects would probably be lower than expected.

Most of the money for the $3.83 million stadium project at North High, which includes a track, will come from private donations. All of the county's contributions will be for the track.

Munson said the public will be able to use the track, which will give people a safe place to run.

"And, I suppose, South High has a stadium and track, so North High needs it, too," Munson said.

North High now shares School Stadium with South Hagerstown High School. That stadium is at South High.

Munson said the committee spearheading the project has raised a significant amount of money for the facility.

"These people worked hard to get it," he said.

Committee member John Williamson told the commissioners that private sector pledges and in-kind donations for the project total $2.95 million.

All pledges, including funding from the county, City of Hagerstown, Board of Education and the state, total $3.75 million.

The committee is about $180,000 short of its goal. That number includes $100,000 as a safeguard to cover bad debts.

"We're going to continue fundraising," Williamson said. "We're not done yet."

The committee hopes the stadium will be open in time for the start of football season, but that's not a firm timeline, he said.

Nipps said the county's Parks and Recreation Board, of which she is a member, opposed using any more Open Space money for the stadium.

The Parks and Recreation Board has said it would like money to be placed in a reserve fund for the possible acquisition of land for recreation purposes or for a possible community recreation facility, Nipps said.

"It is not their desire to put any more money into the North High track program," she said.

She said she stood by the Parks and Recreation Board.

Wivell said he needed more information.

Williamson said the committee was pleased with the decision but was "a little disappointed" it wasn't a unanimous vote.

He called the committee's work a success and said it has set a precedent in the state in fundraising efforts for a school project.

He also said people throughout Washington County have embraced the stadium at North High.

"Hopefully, this will be used by all of the county," Williamson said. "It's more than just North High."




How they voted



The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday approved an additional $300,000 for the stadium project at North Hagerstown High School.

Here's how they voted:

Yes: Gregory I. Snook, John C. Munson, James F. Kercheval

No: William J. Wivell, Doris J. Nipps

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