New college campus planned

December 14, 1998|By SCOTT BUTKI

The University of Maryland wants to establish a small campus in Washington County but no specific location has been selected, county officials said Monday.

County officials are hoping that someone will donate 20 acres of land for the campus, said Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook.

Under the plan unveiled Monday, students could earn bachelor's, graduate and professional degrees from the university system and any other college that wanted to offer classes. The campus probably would have one building initially, Snook said.

The single-building campus would offer courses selected from the offerings of the university system's 13 four-year institutions, University of Maryland System spokesman John Lippincott said.


The plan is modeled after the Shady Grove Center in Shady Grove, Md., which offers classes from the university system and other institutions.

A community partnership plan for the proposal is being developed between the university system, the community college, Frostburg State University, local businesses and city and county governments, Snook said.

"We are negotiating with enthusiasm," said Lippincott.

The plan was announced during a joint meeting between the Washington County Commissioners, the local legislative delegation and officials from PenMar Development Corporation. The public/private PenMar Development Corporation is in charge of converting the former Fort Ritchie Army base into a high-technology business park.

Pen-Mar officials learned earlier this year that college officials had expressed interest in setting up facilities in the county, said Robert Sweeney, PenMar executive director. In September he met with college officials about the idea.

PenMar officials concluded the campus would not fit in with their plans, Sweeney said.

There is a need for a university in Washington County, where only about 15 percent of the residents have a bachelor's degree, said Wayne E. Alter Jr., chairman of the Hagerstown Community College Board of Trustees.

A steering committee is being established to look at possible sites in the county. Snook said he will ask the other commissioners during today's commissioners meeting for suggestions about who should be on the committee.

The size of the proposed campus and an estimated construction cost have not been determined, Snook said. The size, as well as the curriculum, will depend on the demand and the interests of those who enroll, he said.

The hope is that Washington County businesses and residents will help out by donating money and services, Snook said. Donations would demonstrate the community's support for the idea, he said.

Lippincott said the university system has not traditionally helped pay construction costs.

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