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HCC dedicates amphitheater

April 30, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

In 1992, a group of Hagerstown Community College alumni sitting around a kitchen table came up with the idea for an amphitheater.

Eight years later, their idea has become reality.

The $1 million Hagerstown Community College Alumni Amphitheater was formally dedicated Saturday afternoon before a crowd of about 70 people. The theater, a grand open-air stage facing a hillside of tiered seating, hosted its first event Friday night, a performance of the musical "Evita."

HCC President Norman P. Shea told the audience Saturday that the idea to build an amphitheater at the college originated during a meeting of alumni around Jack Hall's kitchen table.

Hall, co-chair of the Amphitheater Committee, said the facility has "truly gone farther than I ever thought."

Committee Co-Chair Joyce Ott said the alumni, community and friends of HCC "worked long and hard" to make the amphitheater a reality.

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Ott called on supporters to "forge ahead."

"We have more to do," she said, such as adding more permanent seating and a picnic area and paying off the debt.

The amphitheater was funded with more than $300,000 in alumni contributions, $400,000 from the state and $285,000 from the county, $200,000 of which was a loan.

"The county helped a little ... but the alumni deserve the credit," said County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook, who also contributed himself $5,000 to "help pay off that loan we just gave you."

The amphitheater has space for as many as 1,000 people, including 670 permanent seats. It is behind the college's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

"We have a couple of beautiful new facilities for the college and the community," said Shea, referring to the new $7.5 million Learning Resource Center, which was formally dedicated Friday.

Maryland Comptroller and former Gov. William Donald Schaefer was scheduled to speak at the dedication, but was unable to attend.

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