Campus selection leads State of County address

February 03, 1999

State of the CountyBy JULIE E. GREENE and SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writers

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

The site for the proposed University System of Maryland campus in Washington County and a new customer for the county's pretreatment plant were announced during Tuesday's State of the County address.

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A steering committee considered four sites for the campus before choosing Allegheny Power's Friendship Technology Park between Interstate 70 and Downsville Pike during a Monday night meeting, said Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook.

The more than 150 people attending the address Tuesday morning at Four Points Hotel gave Allegheny Power President Alan J. Noia a standing ovation when Snook said the utility would donate 20 acres on the park's west side for the campus.


"This project could very well be the most important thing to happen in Washington County from the economic development standpoint in the next 50 years," Noia said.

When Allegheny Power moved its headquarters from New York to Hagerstown in 1996, the only thing on the "weak side of the ledger" was the absence of a strong, four-year college, Noia said.

The University System of Maryland campus will complement Frostburg State University's Hagerstown Center and Hagerstown Community College, Noia said.

"We have a lot of momentum and we should keep it up," he said. Noia said he hopes the rest of the business community will commit to the campus project.

The County Commissioners will vote next week on a resolution thanking Allegheny Power for the land donation, Snook said later Tuesday. From private conversations with the commissioners he said he has concluded that they all support the Allegheny Power site.

The next step will be to increase community support and raise money for the project, Snook said. 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.

On Tuesday morning the commissioners presented a check for $25,000 to Robert E. Myers, interim president of the University of Maryland University College. The money is to be used to have a consultant develop a program plan for the county campus.

The program plan will identify a site, describe the project, estimate how much land will be needed and suggest how the campus might be divided up among the various colleges that will use it, Snook said.

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

Snook also announced that Safety-Kleen Corp., of Columbia, S.C., will become a new customer of the Conococheague Industrial Pretreatment Facility in the Interstate 70/Interstate 81 Industrial Park northeast of Williamsport.

Starting Wednesday, Spirit Services Inc. will begin working to separate oily waters hauled to the plant from Safety-Kleen, said Greg Larsen, the pretreatment plant's marketing director. Safety-Kleen is the nation's largest recycler of liquids, he said.

Spirit Services will separate the oily water into usable oil and treatable water, which will go to the pretreatment plant, Larsen said.

Spirit Services, a private firm based in North Carolina, separates oil from oily wastes brought to the pretreatment plant and then trucks it to a plant in Virginia where it burns it to create electricity.

Larsen said Safety-Kleen is expected to haul up to 500,000 gallons of oily water per month to the pretreatment plant, resulting in an estimated $50,000 in annual revenue for the county.

The oily water initially will be hauled to the plant in tanker trucks, but could start arriving by rail within a few months, he said.

This is significant because Safety-Kleen will provide a steady waste stream, creating a dependable revenue source for the pretreatment plant, Larsen said.

The State of the County address was hosted by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. First National Bank of Maryland was the corporate sponsor.

Commissioner Bert Iseminger was absent due to an illness.

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