Opening of new Northern High set for January 3

Prince Frederick, MD - A new home for the Patriots is about ready for occupancy. Calvert County Public Schools’ (CCPS) Director of School Construction Suchita Warner told the Board of Education (BOE) that the new Northern High School (NHS) is proceeding on time. “We are on schedule to complete phase one,” said Warner during the BOE’s Nov. 8 meeting. January 3 will be the day students will be moving into the facility. The packing and moving process for school employees—teachers and administrators—will begin after Christmas. Warner stated that inspections in the new building are in progress.

Components of the new school’s first construction phase include the media center, cafeteria and gymnasium. Board Member William Phalen wanted to know when the NHS stadium grandstand would be replaced. “This coming summer,” said Warner (pictured), who added that the new stadium lighting was in place and the field’s press box would also be replaced. Platforms that are designed to make the stadium Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant are also part of the construction plan. Phalen also wanted to know if there would be any plan and funds for “visitor’s side” bleachers. “We may have money left,” said Warner. “Will it be enough to incorporate visitor bleachers? I don’t think so?”

Board Member Kelly McConkey noted that the NHS stadium sound system is old and if there was any project money to replace it. Warner stated the NHS construction project would need to be completed before that determination could be made.
In answer to another question, Warner stated the demolition of the current NHS building would not occur until the processes of scouring the abandoned structure for items CCPS might want to salvage and abatement of asbestos is completed. She also noted that the extension of piping for fire suppression in the Mary Harrison Center also needed to be completed. Those processes are expected to take several weeks.

“I think we’re all excited about it [new school building],” said BOE Student Member Thomas S. Ridenour, a NHS junior. “Most of us just want to see it.”

“It’s a beautiful building,” said Warner, who commended contractor J.A. Scheibel Inc. for its work to date on the project, which costs an estimated $65 million. Fully completed, the new NHS will be three stories high and 244,090 square feet.

In other school construction news, Warner stated that a feasibility study for Beach Elementary School’s replacement has started and will likely be presented to the BOE in February. Also, safety component projects several schools are either done or nearing completion. The work includes six elementary schools that will have “guided vestibules.” A state allocation of $175,000 will be used to equip CCPS’ elementary schools with video surveillance cameras.

McConkey congratulated
Board Vice President Dawn Balinski, who chaired the Nov. 8 meeting, offered congratulations to McConkey for his election to the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners. McConkey is expected to resign from the BOE, creating a vacancy on the panel—specifically, the member representing the Third Election District. The current board of county commissioners would appoint someone to fill out the unexpired term. Balinski said the BOE will send a letter to the commissioners stressing that the appointee be an applicant who understands the “limited authority, huge responsibility” of a school board member. “Hopefully, you’ll help them understand,” Balinski said to McConkey.

Contact Marty Madden at

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