School staff acquires some breathing room Central office workers to complete 2nd phase of move to new home

July 27, 1998|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Nearly a decade after the Carroll County school system began its search for a new home, central office employees are gradually settling into the Winchester Building -- a block north of their former offices at 55 N. Court St.

The second phase of the move takes place today as seven departments move from the Courthouse Annex, where school employees have shared cramped quarters with court workers for almost 12 years.

School Comptroller Brad Martin -- who has witnessed the school system's struggle to find new quarters over the years -- doubted he would ever see this day.

"When they dug a hole in the ground and started the addition [on the Winchester Building], I started to think this might really happen," said Martin, who shared a space in the Courthouse Annex with 10 colleagues in the finance department, which moves next door today.

"We're really excited about this," he said.

Besides finance, the departments moving today are payroll, food services, the superintendent's and the two assistant superintendents' offices, and the public information office.

Other departments -- school construction and planning, testing and assessment, early childhood programs and information systems -- moved to the Winchester Building in April.

"I love it. I have an office, four walls and a door," said Kathleen Sanner, director of school support services who moved in the spring.

"We have privacy for conferences and a professional atmosphere to work in," said Sanner, who's coordinating the moving schedule. "Before, I shared a corner of a space. And other folks were far worse off than I was. I had a window."

Dorothy Mangle, director of elementary schools, also moved to the Winchester Building in April. She particularly likes the new Board of Education meeting room.

"There's something to be said for having a room that says, 'This is an important group and there are important decisions being made here,' " Mangle said.

Moving the central offices is part of a $6.9 million county renovation and expansion project. The first phase was a $4.2 million addition of 40,000 square feet to the County Office Building at 225 N. Center St. The $2.7 million second phase covered redesigning the Winchester Building -- which houses county offices -- and adding 30,000 square feet to accommodate the schools, said Tom Rio, chief of the county's Bureau of Building Construction.

Other project costs included $500,000 for the renovation of the Courthouse Annex, which will house the state's attorney's office and court personnel, and $50,000 for moving school and county offices.

"As much of a nightmare as this project could have been, it has been a very good experience for us," Rio said.

Still, glitches have been unavoidable.

Problems associated with overhauling the heating and ventilation system in the Courthouse Annex delayed the move of the state's attorney's offices to the annex from the Winchester Building. That meant school Superintendent William H. Hyde couldn't occupy the state's attorney's office until November.

"Mr. Hyde felt that was unacceptable," said Sanner. "He really did not want to be the only person left when the rest of the staff was down here."

The solution was to postpone the move of the school's resource materials staff from the old Hampstead Elementary School, and have the superintendent and his assistants move twice. Today they will move to temporary quarters at the Winchester Building until their permanent offices are ready.

When today's move is complete, the curriculum department staff will be the only school employees left in the Courthouse Annex. They are scheduled to move at the end of next month.

Pub Date: 7/27/98

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