School's Renovation Forces Out Gymnasts

April 24, 1991|By Ed McDonough | Ed McDonough,Staff writer

The renovation of Sandymount Elementary has claimed another recreation sports casualty, at least temporarily.

The Carroll Gymnastic Center program, which has been permanently housed at the Multi-Service Center in Westminster, must dismantle its equipment so the Sandymountpupils can be moved there next school year.

Jerry Patterson, director of CGC, which is sponsored by the Westminster Recreation Council, said his group is trying to find a temporary home for next year but that the nature of the equipment is making the search difficult.

The center uses Olympic-type equipment, including a spring floor, a special padding that cushions falls. The floor is not like a mat that can be rolled up and stored after a practice, Patterson said.

And there lies the problem. Currently, the CGC leaves its equipment up all year in the Multi-Purpose Center gymnasium. The other primary tenant of the building -- Carroll Community College -- uses only classrooms.

But the center, formerly Westminster Elementary School, will return to its original use for a year startingin September, when Sandymount pupils are transferred there while theFinksburg school is renovated and expanded.

Renovations must begin this spring to get the Multi-Service Center gymnasium ready for next year's Sandymount physical education classes, said Vernon F. Smith Jr., director of school support services.

Among the possible spaces available, said Smith, Patterson and John P. Little, director of recreation and parks, are the old Hampstead Elementary on Main Street, the former Robert Moton Elementary on South Center Street in Westminster and a building at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville.

Patterson said the hospital site is perhaps the most attractive to hisclub, because it would serve the Westminster-Sykesville corridor, where most CGC participants live, and has space for a permanent facility.

But officials at the hospital center have expressed concerns over potential liability problems, he said.

The old Robert Moton school is in a good location, but Little said the equipment would have to be taken down after each event or practice, because Carroll Community College still uses the building's gymnasium for physical educationinstruction.

"If the community college's (new) gymnasium was available, we might not have a problem," he said.

The old Hampstead school is perhaps the only remaining site, though Patterson expressed reservations on two counts.

First, his group would have to use the cafeteria in the facility, parts of which were built in the 1920s. Second, few of the CGC athletes come from that area of the county.

Patterson said the cafeteria's low ceilings will make it impossible touse the high, parallel or uneven bars or the rings.

"That would ruin the competitive side of the team," he said. "It would be like going back to a preschool program."

The Sandymount renovation also means the Sandymount Recreation Council basketball program needs a place to play next year, but Little said finding time in a Westminster-area gymnasium should not prove too difficult.

Work outside the building has inconvenienced the Sandymount Rec Council soccer program, the Carroll County Summer League lacrosse program and the Carroll County Lacrosse Club team.

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