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Commissioners giving $450,000 to help create 'wet labs' at HCC

May 24, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN

A plan to create "wet labs" at Hagerstown Community College for start-up biotechnology and life science firms got a boost from the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday.

The County Commissioners voted unanimously to give HCC $450,000 toward the project.

Of that amount, $250,000 will come from the current fiscal year's budget. The commissioners plan to allocate the remaining $200,000 in fiscal year 2008.

HCC President Guy Altieri said six private wet labs and one common lab would be built as an addition to the Technical Innovation Center at the college.

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The project is estimated to cost more than $1 million, he said.

HCC plans to apply for $400,000 from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and $450,000 from the Technology Development Corp. for Maryland to help with the wet labs.

The wet labs would attract high-skill and high-paying jobs to the county, Altieri said.

They anticipate firms to employ 18 to 24 scientists with annual salaries of about $80,000 a year, including basic benefits, and six technicians with annual salaries of $32,000, according to an HCC report distributed Tuesday.

"I have yet to come across anyone who thinks this is a bad idea for the county," Altieri said.

The Technical Innovation Center, which serves as an incubator for new or expanding technology-based or manufacturing-based businesses, receives three to five requests a year from biotechnology firms but doesn't have the space to accommodate them, HCC officials have said.

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