Coppermine Four Seasons has Carroll’s first private, rentable turf field.

by Amanda Milewski, photography by Nikola Tzenov

Four North Carroll-area facilities undergo upgrades to better serve local community

Just a few years ago, folks in the northeast corner of the county were dealing with the closing of North Carroll High School, a waning Cascade Lake area, and other sites that were struggling to offer modern, relevant amenities to the community. But in a relatively short period of time, private organizations have revitalized these facilities, offering new looks and expanded opportunities. And there’s more to come.

Coppermine Volleyball Net

Four Seasons sports complex, Sportsman’s Hall roller skating center, Cascade Lake and the former North Carroll High building have all recently been purchased, and all are being reworked and retooled.

Baltimore-based Coppermine Fieldhouse LLC purchased Four Seasons, Sportsman’s Hall and Cascade Lake; and Blue Ocean, a real estate investment and asset management company headquartered in Reisterstown, purchased the North Carroll High site.

With nine additional locations (in Mt. Washington, Canton, Owings Mills, Pikesville and Annapolis), Wade Shank, Coppermine’s director of sports operations, said the company is well-versed in providing classes and programs to everyone from toddler to adults.

“Four Seasons had many of the spaces that can be used for soccer, yoga, fitness, birthday parties, lacrosse games and camps, and was a great fit with what they were already offering,” Shank said.

“Timing allowed things to work out with Cascade Lake and Sportsman’s Hall, and we will continue to grow in the Carroll County area,” he continued. “We would love to invite families that haven’t had a chance to check us out to stop in for a tour and to meet our staff members and coaches.”

To date, Coppermine has invested more than $8 million in the three properties.

Coppermine 4 Seasons

Coppermine Pool

For more than 30 years, the sports complex served the community with indoor soccer fields, racquetball courts, a fitness center, and food and bar facilities. The complex also included an Olympic-size swimming pool, outdoor basketball and volleyball courts, fields for soccer and lacrosse and a miniature golf course.

According to Shank, the facility has been completely renovated with “updated gym, locker rooms, weights, machines and flooring, new SnapCourt basketball/volleyball courts, new indoor turf field with drop-down batting cages, a new outdoor turf field with lights and camera streaming and track technology, new Evolve Sports Performance and training center, new physical therapy area with FX Physical Therapy trainers, updated kids play area and watch area for members, new spin rooms and new bikes and equipment.”

Among those upgrades is a first for Carroll County. Although Gerstell Academy and McDaniel College were the first institutions to have turf fields in the county, Coppermine’s is Carroll’s first private, rentable turf field. It was recently dedicated in memory of Garrett Bakhsh, a Hampstead native, former

Four Seasons member and local lacrosse player, who died as the result of gun violence when he was a freshman at Coker College in South Carolina.

Shank said the turf field has seen a lot of action already. It’s used for EDP Soccer League games for a number of groups, including Central Carroll and Celtic West soccer clubs. It’s the home field for Majestx field hockey and Coppermine lacrosse teams as well, and has been home to numerous other tournaments and events.

“We are very fortunate to have wonderful community relationships and partnerships that have been with us previously that have also carried over to utilize the field,” Shank said.

The new turf field will level the playing field for a number of programs that most often compete on turf out of state and in surrounding counties but are relegated to practicing on grass fields, which often can’t be maintained properly due to the many teams vying for their use.

Future plans for 4 Seasons may include an outdoor pickleball venue with four courts, a new building for daycare expansion and more parking for visitors and guests.

Sportsman’s Hall

Although actually in Upperco, Baltimore County, Sportsman’s Hall has been attracting Carroll County roller skating enthusiasts for more than 60 years.

Since the purchase in late 2020, Coppermine has added three basketball/volleyball courts, LED lighting and hardwood flooring. Additional upgrades for both the interior and exterior are in the plans, including “an overhaul of the snack and concession area and possibly an Evolve Sports Performance training area and outside beach volleyball courts,” Shank said.

Coppermine is continuing Sportsman’s Hall’s standard of skate parties and skate sessions on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but the additional courts allow for volleyball and basketball teams to use the facility Monday through Thursday.

Shank said it remains a great place for team events and parties, just as it has been for the past six decades.

Cascade Lake

Coppermine’s most recent Carroll County acquisition is Cascade Lake, formerly a spring-fed 6-acre lake in Hampstead. The lake has been a destination for water sports since the 1930s. Swimming, paddle boating and fishing were popular activities, and later a pool, water slides, platforms, a splash pad, picnic tables, grills, a café and gift shop were added.

In 2018, when heavy rain and flooding damaged the lake’s dam, Cascade was drained. Despite the loss of the lake and pandemic-related closures, the Cascade pool and other features reopened for business in summer 2020.

Coppermine purchased the property in early 2021.

“We were super excited about this new location,” Shank said. “We have started offering holiday and special events such as an Eggstravaganza in
April that featured a helicopter egg drop, and many of Coppermine’s summer camps are using the location for swimming and other camp activities.”

Shank confirmed that the facility hasn’t undergone a lot of renovations yet as management is working to plan how to use the property to its full potential. “The place has so many possibilities and we would love to have it as a special site for community outings,” he said. “Right now, our focus is to have summer camp there and special community events such as the Eggstravaganza and the holiday Cascade Lights during the winter.” He also noted that Coppermine is in the zoning process for the property, with a plan to add multiple grass fields for youth sports.

North Carroll High School

Due to declining enrollment, the school was shuttered in 2016, a move that devastated the surrounding community. And although students have made a successful transition to Manchester Valley High School, development on the North Carroll property is still in the planning stages.

Originally sold to Chesapeake Real Estate Group, the property is now owned by Blue Ocean, a real estate investment and asset management firm.

Although representatives from Blue Ocean declined to comment for this article, Jack Lyburn, director of economic development for Carroll County, said, “It is exciting to have Blue Ocean embark on the redevelopment of the former North Carroll High School.”

‘The Panther’ concept was created by Chesapeake Real Estate Group. The Panther would provide fields, courts, as well as a center for the performing arts. This rendering is from the Blue Ocean website and details ideas for the redevelopment of the current property with indoor and outdoor facilities for sports and other recreational activities.

He said that Blue Ocean is hosting community events and theater productions, and plans for the future call for renovating the property into a multiplex sports center featuring turf fields that will be used for national tournaments as well as local recreational leagues.

“The Hampstead community is fortunate to have a firm with the experience of Blue Ocean overseeing the transformation of this valued property,” Lyburn said.

Currently, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office uses approximately 5,000 square feet of the facility as a statewide training site. Theater groups, such as Players on Air, use the former school’s Panther Performance Center for concerts and productions.

According to Blue Ocean’s website, plans for the Panther Athletic Club include six multi-purpose, regulation-size fields, two with LED lighting, five with synthetic turf and one with high-quality natural grass. They note that all fields will accommodate lacrosse, soccer and field hockey, with the stadium field planned to also accommodate football. The revamped stadium will seat approximately 1,000.

Plans also include pedestrian pathways that connect all fields and facilities and amenities such as shade, seating, concessions and restrooms.

After the bitter pill of the closing of North Carroll High School, area residents and athletic and arts groups are looking forward to the changes at the facility.

“North Carroll Recreation Council (NCRC) has continued to use the gymnasiums and fields since the closure of North Carroll High School through our partnership with Carroll County Recreation and Parks, and for that we are very grateful,” said council president Andy Kiler.

“The indoor facilities, along with the fields and outdoor courts, have served as a primary location for many sports and other recreational activities for many years,” Kiler said. “We believe that having facilities like the North Carroll property are critical in maintaining a growing community like Hampstead/Manchester, and we are eager to see the property grow and change in the future.”