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Training center's mission is 'active leaders'

November 07, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Developer Ken Lowe guided the head of the federal government's Office of Personnel Management Friday to the classrooms where high ranking federal officials will receive training.

"It looks wonderful," said Janice Lachance, the acting director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management as she looked in at unfinished walls and concrete floors.

The $19 million Eastern Management Development Center remains on schedule for completion in May, Lowe said Friday as he lead Lachance and other federal officials on a tour of the project.

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The project is a marriage of private enterprise and government training center.

The 155,000-square-foot complex will be used to house and train high-ranking federal officials on how to manage their agencies.

The complex includes about 35,000 square foot of class rooms, student lounges and offices for the OPM.

The complex also includes motel rooms for the federal officials to stay, guest rooms for tourists and a ballroom that will be used for graduation ceremonies, Lowe said. Two weddings also have booked to use the facility, he said.

The OPM has signed a 15-year lease to use the facility, with their first group scheduled to use the facility in July 1998.

Lachance said the facility provides a necessary site close to Washington, D.C., to send officials for their seminars and it also should help the local community.

Lachance said that the government officials probably will visit local restaurants, shop at local businesses and see local sites during their breaks from the training sessions.

"Part of the appeal of Shepherdstown is it's a lovely place. They're going to want to spend time in the town. They'll want to spend time in the restaurants," Lachance said.

Lachance said she planned to meet with Shepherd College officials to work on ways the two can help each other.

"We want to be good neighbors to the community," Lachance said.

The facility sits on about 35 acres just outside Shepherdstown. It is surrounded by trees and eventually may have jogging paths and a botanical garden, Lowe said.

The Eastern Management Development Center will employ about 125 people while the OPM will staff the site with about 25 workers, Lowe said.

The OPM did operate a training center in Lancaster, Pa., but it was too far for many Washington officials to attend easily, Lachance said.

The staff of the Lancaster facility will be offered new jobs at the Shepherdstown facility when it is complete, she said.

The training is important because the federal government wants effective people in charge of departments, Lachance said. The training center can make sure that the various agencies are run similarly.

"We wanted a corporate-like structure," she said.

"We don't want passive managers. We want active leaders," Lachance said.

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