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Sweeney named campus project director

May 26, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Robert P. Sweeney, former PenMar Development Corp. executive director, has been named project director for the proposed University System of Maryland, Hagerstown campus.

Sweeney, 60, will be in charge of overseeing construction of the campus. He was officially hired Tuesday by the University System and starts work next week. He has been talking to the System chancellor about the position for a few months, he said.

"He was asked by the system to be the project coordinator, and we concur with that," said Washington County Administrator Rodney Shoop.

"I think he will be excellent, with his contacts with the business community and his rapport with state departments," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

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The county may pay for a portion of his salary, Snook said.

His position will be eliminated when the campus opens, Sweeney said. Classes are scheduled to begin at the campus in September 2002.

Sweeney resigned from the PenMar post in February. He headed up efforts to convert Fort Ritchie into the Lakeside Corporation Center.

Sweeney was involved in early discussions about bringing a system campus to Washington County and is on the steering committee that evaluated and selected the campus site.

"I worked very hard to get them here in the first place," he said.

As a businessman he helped raise money for the Shady Grove Center, a System campus on which the Washington County campus is modeled, he said.

Due to his new position he said he should not comment on the Hagerstown City Council's offer last week to donate the 60,000-square-foot Baldwin House Complex as a campus site.

Since February, the County Commissioners and University System officials have planned to build a one-building campus on a donated 20-acre site at Allegheny Power's Friendship Technology Park.

"You are comparing apples and oranges. Allegheny is 20 acres, which is a vision for the future, as opposed to a single building," he said.

"You have to look at the big picture and what are the needs for Washington County for the long term? And I hope the steering committee does that," he said.

He said he does not know if the new position will preclude his participation on that committee.

Sweeney said he did not have this job in mind when he retired from PenMar.

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