Advertisement

A campus of our own

January 22, 1999

After yesterday's tour of the University of Maryland's Shady Grove Center, the Washington County Commissioners quickly affirmed that they want one of their own, and are willing to commit time and money to get it. We hope the business community is ready as well, because university officials made it clear that it won't happen without their help.

The Shady Grove Center, located near Gaithersburg just off I-270, was developed after the Montgomery County Technology Committee pushed for its location there. In a little more than 10 years, enrollment has grown from less than 300 undergraduate students to more than 11,000 students filling two buildings with a third structure on the drawing board.

University officials who led the commissioners' tour told them a number of things have to happen to bring UM's programs across South Mountain. The first is to choose a suitable site, with easy access for students. The commissioners have done that, settling on a 20-acre parcel in Allegheny Power's Friendship Technology Park. The campus would be visible from Interstate 70, across the road from Martin L. "Marty" Snook County Park.

Advertisement

The second is to put together a program plan, at a cost of about $25,000. The plan would create a demographic profile of the area and survey businesses as to what kinds of courses their employees would need.

University officials said business would also have to raise from $750,000 to $1 million toward the cost of construction, and form a group that would lobby members of the Maryland General Assembly by traveling to Annapolis for face-to-face meetings with them.

Boiled down, what all this means is that to make the longstanding dream of having a four-year college in Washington County come true, local businesspeople will soon be asked to dig deep and donate plenty of time and money. It's a big investment, to be sure, but we believe that over time the payoff, in the form of additional economic development, will be worth many times whatever Washington County residents donate now.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|