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Commissioners want campus site chosen soon

June 04, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Washington County steering committee hears presentation and votes on downtown Hagerstown campus site.

  • Wednesday June 16
  • 7 p.m.
  • Frostburg State University Center in downtown Hagerstown
  • 20 Public Square


The Washington County steering committee choosing the site for the proposed University System of Maryland, Hagerstown campus, won't have much time to make its decision.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook and Washington County Commissioner Paul L. Swartz, co-chairmen of the steering committee, want a decision made June 16 following a presentation of the proposal by the city at a 7 p.m. public meeting in Frostburg's Hagerstown Center.

The short time frame, they say, is needed because the University System Board of Regents Finance Committee is scheduled to discuss plans for the campus at a meeting June 17 in Baltimore.

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But if the steering committee recommends switching from the Allegheny Power site to the Hagerstown site then the discussions will have to be postponed, said Chris Hart, a University spokesman.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said he plans to deal with the quick decision-making process by giving committee members information in writing earlier that week.

"That is good. I want to make sure we give it serious consideration. It means a lot to this entire community," Snook said.

At its meeting, the Finance Committee is being asked to examine plans detailing cost and space issues as well as make recommendations regarding transferring the campus land from Allegheny Power to state ownership, Hart said. Those recommendations would then be voted on at a July 9 Board of Regents meeting, he said.

Washington County and the University System have been planning on putting the approximately $12 million campus at Allegheny Power's Friendship Technology Park site since the steering committee endorsed that site Feb. 1.

Following a discussion at a May 18 Hagerstown City Council meeting Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II offered the 60,000-square-foot city-owned Baldwin House Complex at 32-46 W. Washington St. as a free campus site.

Bruchey has noted several times that he is still angry he was not part of the steering committee until its final meeting. He said Friday he does not think the committee will give the city's offer a "fair shot" since it previously endorsed the Allegheny Power site.

Bruchey thinks the decision should come from the governor's office or a state committee, he said.

Bruchey and former Mayor Steven T. Sager say the downtown campus site more fully meets the intent of the Smart Growth Act of 1997 and a follow-up executive order issued by Gov. Parris Glendening.

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