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Director says HCC purchase delays improvements projects

June 22, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

Hagerstown Community College's purchase of 118 acres near its campus in April has delayed several capital improvement projects for a year, according to Director of Facilities and Planning Phil Snodderly.

The college amphitheater, a separate project funded by the county and alumni, is proceeding on schedule, Snodderly said.

HCC's Board of Trustees passed a resolution Tuesday to ask the Washington County Commissioners for a $200,000 interest-free loan for the alumni association so the organization can finish the project's third phase.

HCC spent about $1.4 million to buy the land, which borders the campus to the west and east, according to court records.

Of that amount, $512,887 came from the county's capital improvement fund. The money had been allocated for the conversion of HCC's library to a student center and bookstore.

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A spokeswoman said the college also used surplus revenue and money from the fiscal 2000 budget.

The purchase was designed to prevent commercial development of the land and to buffer HCC from encroaching residential construction, according to County Commissioner Paul L. Swartz.

Using the money to buy the land means other capital improvement projects must be delayed.

The library's conversion will begin in fiscal 2001. Conversion of the administration building will begin in fiscal 2002.

Renovation of the career programs building is scheduled for the following two years. Renovation of the academic building is planned for fiscal 2005.

The amphitheater project is expected to cost $1.2 million and will be completed in three phases, Snodderly said.

Construction, phase one, was completed in the fall.

The second phase, which includes terracing, excavating and the installation of seating, is expected to be complete in August.

Callas Contractors estimates the labor will cost $78,000, Snodderly said.

Alumni are contributing $61,000, with the remaining balance of $17,000 to be carried by the contractor for a year.

Equipment rental and materials will cost $62,000, part of which will be paid for by the county.

The commissioners contributed $87,500 for the 667 seats. They were purchased from Hussey Seating Co. and are in Harrisburg, Pa., waiting to be delivered, Snodderly said.

The third phase includes the construction of restrooms, a ticket booth and concession stand.

The alumni association could use a county loan to finish the work and repay the money with proceeds from annual fund-raisers, Snodderly said.

He said County Administrator Rodney Shoop indicated he would recommend the county provide the interest-free loan. The trustees endorsed the concept of a loan to be repaid over 10 years and agreed to ask for it.

"The decision is up to the County Commissioners," Trustee Merle S. Elliott said.

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