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Governor, chancellor not 'at odds'

July 22, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Gov. Parris N. Glendening and University System of Maryland Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg will work out any differences of opinion about where a system center in Washington County should go, a spokesman for the chancellor said Thursday.

"The governor and the chancellor are not at odds on this. They both agree 100 percent that a campus center is a great idea for Washington County and they are going to work together to make it happen," said Langenberg spokesman Chris Hart.

Some business and government leaders have expressed concern about a debate over whether a University System center should be at the Baldwin House complex in downtown Hagerstown or at a 20-acre site donated by Allegheny Power at its Friendship Technology Park about five miles from the downtown. Some fear it could keep the county from getting a center.

Some believe Glendening wants the center to go downtown because that would be more in keeping with his smart growth initiative. Langenberg has supported the technology park site.

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"They are smart men. They are leaders. It is their job to do this thing the right way," Hart said. Exactly how the location question will be resolved remains to be seen, he said.

Since February, the University System and Washington County have planned to put the single-building center at Friendship Technology Park. A steering committee endorsed the site again June 16, saying it was a better location than the Baldwin House complex.

Langenberg and Capital Planner Mark Beck urged the committee to choose the Allegheny Power site.

Glendening's communications officer said the governor is leaning toward the downtown site, but hasn't seen detailed proposals on either the city-owned Baldwin complex on West Washington Street or the Allegheny Power site off Interstate 70 and Downsville Pike.

Glendening's office said he will make a decision after a committee of state administrators compares the merits of both sites. The review process could take several months.

Some members of the steering committee have expressed concern that the University System would refuse to build a campus downtown even if that was what the governor suggests.

"That is not an unreasonable interpretation," Langenberg said Monday.

As chancellor, Langenberg serves at the will of the 17-member Board of Regents. The regents are appointed by the governor.

System planners would determine how much different the market, needs and demand would be if the center went downtown instead of off I-70, he said.

Robert E. Sweeney, campus project director, said the confusion about which site the governor wants will delay the project by about six months.

The system was scheduled to solicit and award bids in the next few months for design and architecture planning work for the campus. Now, that won't be done until Glendening states whether he supports the steering committee's recommendation of the Allegheny Power site, Sweeney said.

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