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Technology center touted as college campus site

January 22, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Technology center touted as college campus site

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Two Washington County administrators are recommending Allegheny Power's planned Friendship Technology Park as the site for a proposed University System of Maryland campus in Washington County.

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That site, one of four proposed for the campus, is on Downsville Pike, one mile from an Interstate 70 interchange scheduled to be completed in August.

The technology park site is the best location because it has high visibility, easy access and great potential for growth, Washington County Planning Commission Director Robert Arch said Thursday.

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The site would require minimal grading, and has water and waste water hookups and fiber-optic cable available, Arch told the Washington County Commissioners.

The second-best campus site is on private land at Hagerstown Community College, Arch said.

Arch and Public Works Director Gary Rohrer made their joint recommendation to the County Commissioners at a Thursday meeting with Shady Grove Center officials.

The county's campus plan is being modeled on the Shady Grove system campus in Rockville.

Almost 12,000 students enrolled in classes at the Shady Grove center in 1998. Students at Shady Grove can take classes from six of the university system's 13 four-year Maryland institutions.

The commissioners asked Harley A. Cloud, director of the Shady Grove campus, about the importance of a campus location.

"It is very important. It has got to be convenient," he said.

A steering committee looking into finding a site for and then constructing what initially would be a one-building campus has been prioritizing four proposed campus sites, including the ones at the technology park and the community college.

Two of the sites are being offered to the county free of charge, but county officials will not say which two. Allegheny Power officials also refused to say if they were offering a choice of two locations at the technology park as donations.

The other two sites are in Williamsport and near the Hagerstown Commons shopping center near Dual Highway.

The technology park and the community college sites are the best, said Gregory I. Snook, president of the Washington County Commissioners and co-chairman of the steering committee.

"These two are the cream of the crop," he said.

Arch said he will give the same presentation to the steering committee at a Feb. 1 meeting that he gave to the commissioners Thursday.

The committee probably will make a recommendation at that meeting, Snook said.

As soon as possible after that he will present those recommendations to the Washington County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly and ask for help in getting state financial aid, Snook said.

Robert E. Myers, interim president of the University of Maryland University College, suggested the commissioners urge business leaders to lobby state elected officials and start raising money for campus construction.

Rohrer estimated the cost of constructing a single-building campus at $10 million to $12 million.

It cost $10 million to construct the first Shady Grove building and $13 million for the second. The state government chipped in $4 million toward the cost of the first building and paid the entire cost of the second one, which opened in January 1997.

During Thursday's meeting, Myers said that the University College, which mainly serves adult part-time students, wants to start offering classes at Hagerstown Community College and the Frostburg State University Center in Hagerstown.

He does not want to wait until a new campus is built before offering the classes, he said.




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