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County covers HCC's budget shortfall

November 22, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN - The Washington County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to make up a nearly $1 million budget shortfall for a large renovation project at Hagerstown Community College.

The $988,902 approved by the County Commissioners will cover a shortfall in construction and equipment costs, HCC President Guy Altieri said.

The money is in addition to the approximately $6.1 million the commissioners have given toward the project and the $1.4 million the county has included in the fiscal year 2008 capital budget, HCC spokeswoman Beth Stull said.

The total cost of the building renovation is $22 million, Altieri said.

He called the project the largest in HCC's history.

In 2004, Altieri told the commissioners the building was about 40 years old and about 80,000 square feet. A larger, updated building would help handle HCC's rapidly growing enrollment, he said.

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Some of the classes offered in the Career Programs building are those in the allied health field, such as nursing and radiology. Both are areas facing increasing enrollments, Altieri has said.

Continuing education classes also are held in the Career Programs building.

HCC plans to start a heating, ventilation and air conditioning program in the building, and plans to add high-technology science labs, Altieri said Tuesday.

The project also includes building a loop road through the campus.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook asked whether the loop road would be built to allow for further expansion of that area, and Altieri said that would be the case.

"I want to make sure in building the road you get it right the first time," Snook said.

HCC originally had a $2.5 million shortfall in the cost of construction, but was able to rework the bid to reduce the amount to $563,075, Altieri said.

The construction shortfall occurred after the lowest bid from a contractor came in higher than the college had planned.

The cost of equipment for the renovated building, most of which will support the nursing program and other allied health courses, was running at a $425,827 shortfall, accounting for the $988,902 deficit.

The commissioners are covering the shortfall by shifting other projects in the capital budget.

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