Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening's proposed $1.26 billion construction budget includes $697,000 to design the University System of Maryland's Hagerstown Education Center.
"It's a good first step," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington. "I still disagree with the location, but the planning money and the opportunity to do it right is important."
The center is to open in the Baldwin House complex in downtown Hagerstown in 2003.
Glendening chose the site in November, over the objections of university and local elected officials who preferred sites near Hagerstown Community College and off Interstate 70.
In future years, the state plans to spend $10.5 million on construction and $1.2 million on equipment.
"I'd like to see him put more money in for the construction, but we'll see," said Commissioner Paul L. Swartz.
Swartz and Munson believe that the work will cost more than estimated.
The university is one of a dozen construction projects totaling $16.1 million Glendening is proposing for Washington County in his 2001 capital budget, said his spokesman, Michael Morrill.