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Baldwin House complex getting final touches

The $13 million educational facility is being restored to its former grandeur

The $13 million educational facility is being restored to its former grandeur

June 10, 2004|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Construction workers are in the final stages of restoring the former Baldwin House complex to its original turn-of-the-century grandeur.

According to C. David Warner III, executive director of what will be the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown facility when it's finished, the $13 million center is on schedule to open in January.

Faux marble walls have been repaired in the hallways of what used to be a hotel in its heyday.

Ornate crown molding and original floor-to-ceiling windows have been brought back to their original condition.

Most of what's left to do is finishing work, such as drywall, painting and lighting, Warner said.

When Warner took the job in January, he toured the long-vacant building complex. At that time, he said, he thought it was in such poor condition he couldn't imagine it being used for classes.

Warner has monitored the construction from his office in the Frostburg State University building next door on West Washington Street.

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He's watched as the building has been slowly transformed into what he hopes will be a downtown showpiece.

"I think it's going to be spectacular," he said.

The facade is finished except for the first floor, which is being restored to look like the storefronts that once occupied the building.

The former hotel rooms will be used for staff and faculty offices, their rooms offering a view of the Victorian-style architecture across the street.

In the hallway, Whiting-Turner Construction of Baltimore has restored the plaster wainscoting, which is painted to look like marble with veins of purple and orange.

An expert from Britain assisted contractors with the specialty work, Warner said.

In the section of the building that once was home to Routzahn's department store, four floors of classrooms have been built.

Joining the former Routzahn's and Baldwin buildings, which meet to form an "L" shape, is a five-story atrium with views of the city and a large open space that's being developed into an urban park.

University system officials are still working on the academic programs to be offered there.

At the very least, the center will open with the programs now offered by Frostburg, Warner said.

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