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Planner to compare campus proposals

August 03, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The University System of Maryland capital planner will do a detailed comparison of the two proposed Washington County campus sites for Maryland Planning Director Ronald Kreitner.

It is too early to say whether the study will delay the project by more than the six months previously projected, said Robert P. Sweeney, campus project director.

The single-building campus was scheduled to open in fall 2002.

It is not known how long it will take Capital Planner Mark Beck to develop the requested study, he said.

The report will include comparisons of the accessibility, security, traffic levels and infrastructure costs at Allegheny Power's Friendship Technology Park and the Baldwin House Complex in downtown Hagerstown.

Since February the county and the University System have been proceeding with plans, and raising almost $1 million in county, state and private money. Those plans for a $13.4 million campus are specific to the 20-acre site donated by Allegheny Power.

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County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer and Planning Director Robert Arch may be asked to assist Beck with the study, Sweeney said. Rohrer and Arch did an earlier comparison of the two sites for the Washington County Steering Committee.

The steering committee endorsed the Allegheny Power site on Feb. 1 and again on June 16.

Kreitner is on a committee of state administrators who are examining some planned capital projects and reporting their findings to Gov. Parris Glendening.

The committee in the fall will make recommendations to Glendening about how well projects meet the governor's Smart Growth Act initiatives, Kreitner said.

While both sites fit the Smart Growth requirements, a Glendening executive order on the issue gives a higher priority to projects in downtowns, Kreitner said.

It is not unusual for the committee to request this type of a report for a project, he said.

Kreitner caused a stir June 16 when he announced what the committee was doing and said it would not be unusual or surprising if the governor were to suggest the University System build the campus downtown.

Some steering committee members expressed concern that switching sites could jeopardize the project but spokesmen for Glendening and University System Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg said that they would not happen.

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