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Turning Point to move into former National Guard armory

Nonprofit mental health organization 'helps people with mental health needs to become productive members of the community'

July 09, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

HAGERSTOWN --Plans are under way to convert the former Maryland National Guard Armory on North Potomac Street in Hagerstown into the new home of Turning Point of Washington County Inc.

The new quarters are needed because Turning Point, a program of Way Station, has outgrown its 11,000-square-foot office around the corner at 25. E. North Ave., Way Station Executive Director Scott Rose said.

Way Station Inc. of Frederick, Md., the parent organization of Turning Point, purchased the armory at 328 N. Potomac St. in December 2009, Rose said.

Renovations to the two-story, 17,518-square-foot armory have begun but will not be in full force for a few weeks, he said.

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Turning Point, a nonprofit mental health organization, "helps people with mental health needs to become productive members of the community," he said. It has served Washington County since 1979, Rose said.

The armory previously was owned by Moller Properties LLC of Frederick, according to Rose.

Moller Properties spent about $500,000 to make upgrades to the armory, the Herald-Mail reported previously.

More renovations are needed to convert the building to suit Turning Point's needs, Rose said.

The armory does not have much parking on site, which was an initial hurdle, City Development Planner Steve Bockmiller said.

To solve the problem, Turning Point will continue to use a nearby parking lot that it owned in connection with the building on North Avenue.

Its programs offer outpatient mental health services that help clients integrate into the community, manage medication and develop skills, he said.

Needs for services like those offered by Way Station and Turning Point have been growing, Rose said. To meet that demand, the number of services offered by Turning Point has increased, he said.

Turning Point could move into the armory as early as January 2011, Rose said.

The 1926 armory is a historic building that is regulated by a Maryland Historic Trust easement, he said.

It is significant because of its connection to the reorganization and expansion of the National Guard system in the 20th century, according to the Maryland Historic Trust's online record for the property.

Moving Turning Point into the building, which resembles a Medieval fort, will be a win-win situation for the community, Rose said.

Once rehabilitated, the building will contribute to Hagerstown's economic growth, as will the clients it serves, he said.

Rose said with the help of Turning Point, clients are able to obtain steady employment and independence.

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