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Committee picks site for campus

February 02, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The steering committee looking at four locations for a proposed University System of Maryland campus in Washington County decided Monday night it should be built at Allegheny Power's planned Friendship Technology Park, according to sources.

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Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook was expected to announce the committee's recommendation during the State of the County speech at 7 a.m. today at the Four Points Sheraton in Hagerstown.

On Monday, Snook said the County Commissioners might endorse the committee's recommendation today.

Sources who attended the Monday night meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the committee's decision. The meeting was closed to the public.

Once a site is selected, the next step will be to increase community support and raise money for the project, Snook said.

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The county is hoping to get state financial aid for construction of what initially will be a one-building campus.

Snook said he wants to demonstrate that the community supports the project before asking for help from the local delegation to the Maryland General Assembly.

The committee's decision coincides with a joint recommendation made by county staff members at a Jan. 21 meeting.

Robert Arch, director of the Washington County Planning Commission, and Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said their first recommendation was Friendship Technology Park. The park is to be on Downsville Pike, one mile from an Interstate 70 interchange scheduled for completion in August 1999.

The second choice was on private land at Hagerstown Community College.

The steering committee also was asked to consider two other sites, one in Williamsport and the other near Hagerstown Commons shopping center near Dual Highway.

Two of the sites are being offered to the county as donations but Snook and other committee members have refused to say whether Allegheny Power's site is one of them.

At its Jan. 26 meeting, the commissioners voted to pay $25,000 to the University System of Maryland to have a consultant develop a program plan for the campus.

The program plan would identify a site, describe the project, estimate how much land will be needed and make suggestions about how the campus will be divided up among the various colleges that will want to use it, Snook said.

It was the first time the commissioners had voted to spend money on the proposed campus.

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

The county is modeling its campus plan on the Shady Grove system campus in Rockville, Md. Almost 12,000 students were enrolled in classes at the center in 1998. Students can take classes from some of the system's 11 four-year institutions and two research institutes.

Exact details about which colleges would offer which classes at a system campus have yet to be worked out but Snook and Swartz want Frostburg State University to continue offering classes in downtown Hagerstown.

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