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FSU dedicates community meeting room

May 27, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

see the enlargement

FSU Community Room

Government walks a fine line when it gets involved in a project like the new community meeting room at Frostburg State University's Hagerstown center, said Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

There's always the threat that once it has a stake in a project, it will take it over, Bruchey said.

Fortunately, the City of Hagerstown stayed on the right side of the line with this project by helping to get it under way with funding then stepping aside, he said following a dedication ceremony Tuesday for the project.

Bruchey was among several dignitaries who spoke at the afternoon event, a combination unveiling of the finished product and thank you to all who helped make it a reality.

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Housed in the old Woolworth building at 16 W. Washington St., the flexible meeting space includes a large meeting room - seating about 100 people - and an adjacent room that can be opened to add 30 more seats.

Using a federal Community Development Block Grant, the city contributed $125,000 toward the roughly $240,000 construction cost. The university matched the contribution with state funds.

The idea fit in with the city's plan, which included keeping the school downtown and helping it to expand, said fellow speaker Steven T. Sager, a former mayor of Hagerstown who helped get the project off the ground.

Combining federal, state and local public funding with private support, the project is a "taxpayers' delight," said Hagerstown Center Director James W. Shaw.

Shaw said he's counting on the local business community to contribute the more than $100,000 still needed to equip the room with an interactive television system, allowing access to University of Maryland resources and laptop computers.

It wasn't the first time many of the local government, business and educational leaders attending had used the 3,400-square-foot facility.

Months ago, before it was decorated, or even had its heating and air conditioning systems in, FSU was getting requests from groups to use the space for various purposes, Shaw said.

The city gets free use of the facility as does the university, which will use it for evening classes, he said.

Based on the room's use so far, Hagerstown business owner Michael G. Callas said he thinks the downtown meeting space is needed.

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