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Decision near on campus site

November 23, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening will announce his decision about the location of the university center by Monday and possibly as early as today, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Glendening returned Tuesday from an overseas trade mission and began reviewing staff-prepared material about the University System of Maryland Hagerstown center sites, spokesman Michael E. Morrill said.

Before leaving for the trade mission earlier this month Glendening told his cabinet to compare the HCC site to the Baldwin House complex in downtown Hagerstown and Allegheny Power's Friendship Technology site off Interstate 70 so he could make a decision when he returned.

"I am going to hope and pray he makes the right one (decision)," Washington County Commissioner Paul L. Swartz said Tuesday.

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Swartz is co-chairman of the steering committee that twice endorsed the utility site, the second time over the downtown Hagerstown site.

Swartz, members of the local delegation to the Maryland General Assembly and other steering committee members shifted their support in recent weeks to the Hagerstown Community College site, saying it fits Glendening's Smart Growth Act initiative.

"It is a long-time coming," Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said of the decision. He is the leading proponent of putting the campus at the Baldwin House complex in downtown Hagerstown.

Bruchey said he would back whatever location the governor chooses.

The analysis Glendening was examining Tuesday looked at three factors: The cost, impact and long-term viability of building the campus at HCC compared to the other two locations, Morrill said.

Morrill would not divulge the results of that comparison.

Architects and engineers working for the University System are within one week of completing a separate comparison between the HCC site and the other two locations, Campus Project Director Robert E. Sweeney said.

Morrill said he was unaware of that comparison.

The campus was originally scheduled to open in fall 2002 at the utility site.

Sweeney has verbal agreements with seven colleges to offer classes at the campus but those were specific to the Allegheny Power site.

A previous comparison between the Allegheny Power site and the downtown site said there could be a 12 to 16 month delay if the campus site were changed. Bruchey has said no delay would occur.

According to the previous comparison, at least 40 percent of the students will be from outside Washington County. That estimate is based on enrollment at Frostburg University and a survey of area businesses, according to the report.

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