State officials have not ruled out the Lane Building at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville in their search for a juvenile detention center site.
The Juvenile Services Agency needs a facility to serve Area II, which includes Carroll, Harford and Baltimore counties.
"We are continuing to look for alternative sites in Area II," Mary Ann Saar, juvenile services secretary, wrote in a letter to members of the South Carroll Coalition, a community activist group.
"I cannot completely rule out the option of the Lane Building until I find an acceptable alternative" Ms. Saar said.
Ms. Saar met with county officials and coalition members last month to detail the state's proposal for turning the Lane Building into a 74-bed detention center for youths awaiting trials.
The project would cost $5.5 million.
The coalition organized a petition drive and forwarded about 1,000 signatures to state officials to protest the plans.
Ms. Saar said she is sympathetic to residents' concerns and "is actively seeking alternatives."