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Commissoners say FSU will stay in Public Square

January 21, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

If a University System of Maryland campus is built in Washington County, Frostburg State University should continue offering classes at its downtown Hagerstown center as well as at the new campus, two Washington County Commissioners said Wednesday.

None of the plans discussed so far involve the Frostburg State University Center in Hagerstown moving out of its present Public Square facility, said Washington County Commissioner Paul L. Swartz.

Gregory I. Snook, president of the County Commissioners, said he would like students to have the option of attending college classes downtown.

A gentlemen's agreement for cooperation on the campus idea exists between Frostburg, Hagerstown Community College and University System of Maryland officials, Swartz said.

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Swartz and Snook are co-chairmen of a steering committee that is looking into finding a site for and then constructing what initially would be a one-building campus.

University system officials have expressed support for the idea. A site for a campus has not been selected.

Today the commissioners are to visit the Shady Grove Center, a system campus on which the Washington County proposal is being modeled.

If a Washington County campus were built, county students could attend classes from any of the system's 13 four-year institutions.

James W. Shaw, director of Hagerstown's Frostburg center, said he would expect most of the students to take Frostburg classes.

"I assume Frostburg would be the primary tenant," he said.

It is too early to say which classes would be offered at a new campus and which would be available at Frostburg's existing location in Public Square, he said.

He also does not know how, if at all, a new campus would affect the conference center at 16 W. Washington St., he said.

The center, which cost more than $240,000 to convert for Frostburg's use, was dedicated in May 1998. The City of Hagerstown paid about $125,000 of the costs.

The steering committee is evaluating four approximately 20-acre sites for a campus.

One of the sites is Allegheny Power's proposed Friendship Technology Park off Md. 632. A second is on private land abutting Hagerstown Community College. Another is in Williamsport and one is in Hagerstown near the Hagerstown Commons shopping center near Dual Highway.

Two of the sites would be donated to the county, but officials have not said which two.

Shaw, who is on the steering committee, would not say which site he prefers.

The Hagerstown Center had an all-time high enrollment of 446 students for the fall semester. About 400 of those students were enrolled in Frostburg classes while the rest attended classes offered by three system schools, he said.

Established in downtown Hagerstown in 1988, the Frostburg Center offers junior- and senior-level college courses and undergraduate degrees in accounting, business administration, sociology and justice studies. The center also offers master's degrees in business administration and education.

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