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HCC to get $8.8 million if capital plan approved

January 31, 2006|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY

daniels@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College stands to receive nearly $8.8 million in state funding as part of a $1.45 billion spending plan presented Monday by Gov. Robert Ehrlich at Towson University.

Ehrlich's proposed capital plan - which must be approved by the legislature - includes millions for new buildings and renovations at colleges and universities. The education part of his budget totaled $530 million.

HCC would receive $8,792,000 for the renovation of its Career Programs Building, an ongoing project jointly supported with state and Washington County funds, HCC President Guy Altieri said Monday. The state will cover 60 percent of the $15 million project, expected to take two years to complete.

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Altieri said the state previously pledged to fund the project, and that Monday's announcement was not a surprise. He said the college expects to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation in late spring or early summer.

"Of course it's good news that commitment we had from the governor is being planned out with his (capital budget)," Altieri said. "That was what we were waiting for, what we were expecting. We felt very confident that it would be funded."

In addition to HCC, the budget earmarks $2.4 million for Maugansville Elementary School, $1.3 million for the Maryland Correctional Training Center, $448,000 for Smithsburg High School and $347,000 for Hancock Middle/High School. Funding is also set aside for projects at Clear Spring High School, Clear Spring Middle School, Cascade Elementary School, Northern Middle School, Smithsburg Middle School and Sharpsburg Elementary School.

Ehrlich's spending plan also includes funding for other programs, including $60,000 for the San Mar Children's Home Inc., $94,000 for Washington County Detention Center Central Booking and $400,000 for the Hagerstown YMCA.

YMCA Director Michael Flicek said the funds will go toward a plan to build a youth and family gymnasium addition. He said the center has raised $452,000 toward the cost of the project and said he was pleased Ehrlich included the funding request with his proposed budget.

The capital spending plan now goes to the legislature, which has more control to tweak the governor's proposal than it does over his regular budget. Unlike the general budget, the capital budget can be increased or shifted by lawmakers.

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