By: Brian Paul
In 2023, Hammond High School is set to be renovated for the first time since 2011. In March 2018, former Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman proposed a construction budget of approximately 165 million dollars, which included a 4 million dollar education project set towards improvements here at Hammond High School. The building of Hammond High is about 41 years old, and the mentioned improvements include an overhaul of heating and cooling systems, and a rumored second floor. This rumored new floor would look to accommodate 200 more students, as Hammond is currently designed for 1,220 students.
Superintendent Michael J. Martirano met with the County Council and the Howard County Board of Education in order to advance the target completion date from 2028 to 2023. The original completion date was proposed for 2018, but due to other educational projects in Howard County, the date was pushed back as a result of rapid population growth over the past few years.
During the February 1st meeting regarding the renovations, according to The Baltimore Sun, Allan Kittleman stated that he thought the 2022 deadline might in fact still be possible. At the moment, no students who are currently attending Hammond will be able to see the 2023 renovations in its entirety, based on when they are set to graduate. Only Freshman and other new students who come to Hammond the 2019-2020 school year will be able to see the completed renovations. Students have expressed some disappointment over the renovations being completed so late, as many have been waiting to see the building change since their Freshman year.
Freshman Alex Heuval voiced a similar opinion on whether or not the renovations should have been completed at a different time. “I think it should have been a bit earlier because nobody in the school right now would see these renovations and be a part of these renovations. It would be the Freshman [that enter in] 2020 who would be the first to see when they’re seniors. So, I think it should be earlier than 2023.”
Another benefit from the renovations will be the space opened up in the hallways. Hammond has a notorious reputation for being overcrowded in certain hallways during class transitions, which can be problematic for both students and staff who need to get to other parts of the building in a hurry.
Junior Ekene Ezeh believes that the future renovations will help both students and staff transition smoothly. “I think the impact the [renovations] will have on future classes will allow…kids to have more room [in the hallways] to move from class to class…it will also be able to have teachers have more classrooms, that way teachers aren’t sharing rooms and moving from classroom to classroom.”
Deante Woody, a sophomore at Hammond, also explained how the teachers stand to benefit from the renovations. “The [teachers] will have their own classrooms so they can have their own things in their rooms, so that they don’t have to be all cluttered up in one place.”
The renovations will occur in different stages, and Hammond is currently in the very first stage, says Dr. DiPaula. “We’re still in the planning phase. We’ve got…an overview of which classrooms are going where, and what the major changes are going to look like for the school. As soon as the plans get approved by the Board of Education, we will put out a request for bids to get a company [that] will come and build [new areas]…once the central office determines who is going to do the construction, then we have to apply for the permits.”
The renovations are a lengthy process, and it is unclear how long each stage will take. Dr. DiPaula continued,
“…summer of 2020, I believe, [is when the construction company is] going to start actually…knocking down part of the building and start the building phase itself.”
While these renovations are occuring, there will be additional portables placed outside the building, complete with bathrooms and a great amount of extra space. This will allow classes to still continue in certain parts of the building where construction is taking place, and offices will be relocated as well.
Though it is true that Hammond high schoolers will be in the building while the renovations are occuring, they will not be permitted to go to the exact locations of the construction, due to safety risks. Certain phases will be completed before 2023, but other construction of other areas will still be going on.
These renovations will surely usher in a new era for the school that will turn forty-six years old in 2023. As the new decade of the 2020’s comes into the fold, Hammond will also have an upgraded, new building to look forward to, setting the foundation for a new generation of Hammond students and staff from 2023, and beyond.