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HCC plans renovation to accommodate growth

February 25, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College is planning a $12.8 million renovation to the Career Programs Building to help handle about a 65 percent enrollment increase the school expects by 2012.

HCC President Guy Altieri and other staff members presented the Washington County Commissioners with the plan Tuesday.

The renovation of the 40-year-old, 80,000-square-foot building would double the number of classrooms and labs in the facility.

Construction would start in fiscal year 2005, which begins July 1, and be completed in fiscal year 2007, according to the county's proposed construction budget.

"This is the largest project that the school has undertaken," Phillip R. Snodderly, HCC's director of facilities management and planning, told the County Commissioners.

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HCC has asked that the county pay $1.65 million toward the project in fiscal year 2005, $1.5 million in fiscal year 2006 and $1.5 million in fiscal year 2007.

The state would give HCC $7.4 million for the project if the commissioners agree by April to fund the college's request. Altieri said the state dollars would be in jeopardy without the assistance from the county.

The commissioners, who are in the process of reviewing the county's proposed, six-year $264.9 million construction budget, did not make a decision Tuesday on whether to commit to HCC's request.

Altieri said HCC's campus, which was designed to accommodate 2,500 students, will have nearly 5,000 students by 2012. HCC also serves 9,000 students in its noncredit continuing education program and expects that number to increase to 10,000 by 2012.

HCC currently has about 3,200 students, putting it on course to end the academic year with the highest enrollment in the school's history, Altieri said.

Some of the classes offered in the Career Programs building are those in the Allied Health field, such as nursing and radiology.

Enrollment in those courses have doubled over the last few years, Altieri said.

Co ntinuing education classes also are held in the Career Programs building.

Altieri attributed the increasing enrollment to HCC's expansion of course offerings and the Washington County Board of Education's push to encourage more students to attend college after high school.

The renovation to the Career Programs building is the first step in HCC's plans to accommodate growth, Altieri said. The college also plans to upgrade its Classroom Building, Science Building and Kepler Theater.

Those projects would be worked on in fiscal years 2008-2010, Altieri said.

He said many of the college's buildings are about 40 years old.

"We're well overdue in getting our classrooms and labs in better shape," he said.

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