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University classes to start next year

May 26, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Class will be in session in early 2005 at the still-under-construction University System of Maryland at Hagerstown building on West Washington Street, a spokesman for the university system said Monday.

David Warner, executive director of the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, said the $16 million building project will be completed by Nov. 16.

He said Frostburg State University students will begin spring session classes at the center in January 2005.

Employees and administrators are to move into the 77,000-square-foot building, a mix of restorations to the Baldwin House and newly created space, by December, he said.

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Warner said the approximately 500 students expected to attend Frostburg next year will attend classes in the new building. Warner said the goal is to have 1,000 students taking classes from a number of universities and colleges within two to three years.

Warner, a North Hagerstown High School graduate and former director of instruction at Hagerstown Community College, said he believes the university system's involvement downtown will help revitalize the area and help keep some of the county's brightest minds at home.

"I've already noticed that business and properties are changing," Warner said. "In a few short years, I think we're going to see a very different downtown."

Warner said he is negotiating with the university system member schools about bringing programs and class offerings to Hagerstown in 2005 and beyond. Frostburg is the only institution with a completed deal, Warner said.

The other members of the system eligible to offer programs in Hagerstown include Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland affiliates at Baltimore, Baltimore County, College Park, Eastern Shore and University College; and two University of Maryland research centers - the Center for Environmental Science and the Biotechnical Institute.

"Any of them could come up here and offer classes, though it's not likely they all will immediately," Warner said. "The good news is there is interest. Discussion is ongoing."

The university system received $1 million from the state for operating the center for the fiscal year that runs from July 1, 2004, to June 30, 2005. Warner said although the request was for $1.8 million, he was pleased with the amount.

"The way the state budget is right now, we were lucky to get $1 million," he said.

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