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McGee to leave county schools position

February 09, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

His eight years as Washington County Board of Education director of facilities management have been very rewarding, but it is time for him to move on, Dennis McGee said.

McGee, 50, announced last week that he is resigning so he can take a job as director of facilities for Union County College in Cranford, N.J., which has four campuses and about 10,000 students.

His resignation is effective Feb. 16. His first day on the new job is Feb. 17.

Gary Rohrer, Washington County's public works director, has worked with McGee on many projects. The Board of Education does not realize how much of a loss McGee's departure is going to be, Rohrer said Sunday.

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"He has done an outstanding job. They are not going to realize what they have lost until he has been gone for a while and they try to replace him," Rohrer said.

McGee said he is moving for family and personal reasons.

"It was just a good offer at a good time," McGee said.

By moving, he will be able to live closer to his son, his daughter-in-law and his 2-year-old granddaughter, he said.

McGee, who has built buildings in 38 states, has lived and worked in several cities, including Chicago and Dallas, he said.

Before working in Hagerstown, he always had jobs that required travel and missed some of his son's Little League games.

He took a job in Hagerstown and his family stayed put, with his 17-year-old daughter and 23-year-old son graduating from South Hagerstown High School.

But now that his son and granddaughter are living near Linden County, N.J., McGee and his wife have been driving to see them almost every weekend, he said.

He has enjoyed his work for Washington County Public Schools, he said.

"It has been a very rewarding position on many levels," he said.

Part of his job was being the project manager on expensive, complicated renovation and construction work, including improvements at Lincolnshire Elementary, Clear Spring Elementary and Smithsburg Elementary schools, and the start of work at Salem Avenue Elementary School, he said.

The school project of which he was most proud was the approximately $20 million renovation of South Hagerstown High, he said.

Watching the transformation of a school is a wonderful experience, he said.

In addition to the major projects, McGee has had a hand in many other projects throughout a district with more than 20,000 students, he said.

This winter, for example, the staff is working to make sure it provides heating to a total area of 3 million square feet, he said.

"It is a never-ending job," he said. "It is the type of job where you need to be in touch with what is going on."

He gives his staff and others in the district much of the credit for the work that is done, he said.

While he likes to get out and see the projects up close, he also needs to spend some of his time - more than he would like - in his office signing numerous water, oil and electricity bills, he said.

Before working for the school district, McGee was facilities director for Antietam Health Service for four years. The business' parent company is Washington County Health System.

While doing that job, McGee said he was involved in the planning of the first two buildings at Robinwood Medical Center.

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