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Governor to visit campus sites

September 14, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening will be in Washington County for about two hours Wednesday to tour proposed sites for a $13.4 million University System of Maryland, Hagerstown center.

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Glendening is scheduled to spend about 30 minutes at each site. He will be at Allegheny Power's donated site at Friendship Technology Park at 3 p.m., and at the city-offered Baldwin House Complex in downtown Hagerstown at 4 p.m.

The tours are not open to the public.

Glendening is scheduled to briefly speak after he tours the sites, but is not likely to say which one he prefers, said Michael E. Morrill, a Glendening spokesman.

Maryland Planning Director Ronald Kreitner and Maryland General Services Director Peta Richkus will accompany Glendening, Morrill said. University System Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg also is scheduled to attend.

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Kreitner is on a committee of state administrators comparing the Allegheny Power site, which the county and University System prefer, to the downtown site.

The committee, which is still working on a report for Glendening, is looking at a variety of factors, including accessibility, security, traffic levels and construction costs.

Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook and Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II have said Glendening will be lobbied during his visit.

Washington County Planning Director Robert Arch will give a 15-minute presentation on the Allegheny Power site, Snook said.

The city will make a short presentation on the benefits of the downtown site.

Bruchey has said it will be essentially the same presentation made at the June 16 meeting of the Washington County steering committee. The committee endorsed the Allegheny Power site.

Glendening will not visit land adjacent to Hagerstown Community College, which has some support as a center site.

Supporters of the downtown site say it fits the governor's Smart Growth initiative, which encourages downtown revitalization. Arch says the technology park site also is consistent with the Smart Growth initiative.

In early August the local delegation to the Maryland General Assembly sent Glendening a letter which, in part, reminded him he supported placing fiber optic cable along Interstate 70 over the next 18 months. The cable, which would be near the Allegheny Power site, would improve the campus' technical capabilities if it were built there, supporters say.

Glendening concluded that the corridor made the location only "minimally more attractive," Morrill said. It would be possible to link the cable from the highway corridor to the downtown site, Morrill said.

The single-building $13.4 million campus was scheduled to open in fall 2002 on the 20-acre site donated by Allegheny Power but Campus Project Director Robert Sweeney is predicting a delay of at least six months. The University System opted not to solicit bids for design until the governor stated which site he prefers.

Bruchey said he does not think there will be a delay no matter where the campus is built.

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