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School system eyes Allegheny Power building

June 11, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

Washington County Public Schools officials are considering using the former Allegheny Power building on Downsville Pike for a school or office site.

Assistant Superintendent for School Operations Boyd Michael said the site could be used for a new Antietam Academy or for central office space. He said the building might be a good fit for a future magnet or academy program.

Bids are being accepted for a feasibility study of the site, Michael said.

Leland Group Commercial Real Estate LLC and TSC Realty Services LLC are the companies managing the lease and sale of the property.

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Allegheny Energy sold the 97,754-square-foot building to Oak Ridge XVII LLC in 2005, according to Allegheny spokesman Allen Staggers.

The property, which sits on 49 acres in the Friendship Technology Park, was sold at the time for $7.5 million, according to Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records.

The structure was built in 1968.Michael said the school system's plans include building a new Antietam Academy on a site behind South Hagerstown High School and E. Russell Hicks Middle School. That land is owned by Washington County Public Schools.

"Before we do that, we wanted to see if it was possible, and in the long-term cheaper to look at the Allegheny building," he said.

The building is available for lease or purchase, said John Lesinski with Leland Group. Michael said officials would not rule out a lease option on the building, but would be interested in the option that would be most cost-effective.

Michael said that another option for the building would include moving some central office operations there.

"We're in desperate need of additional space, or more functional space, or a combination of the two," he said.

Michael said the building might be a good fit for an academy program, a math and science magnet program, or some type of signature program.

"So, we'll hire a company to look at the entire building and say this is feasible or not feasible," he said.

The school system is accepting bids for that study, and Michael said officials could choose not to go through with the study based on those bids. If they do authorize the study, they could decide it could be used for a number of school-system needs.

That study will include a document listing the pros and cons of putting office space or classrooms there.

"We're at a very preliminary step in the process," he said. "Is this a building we can convert into some useful space for Washington County Public Schools?"

Lesinski deferred specific questions about the building, including the asking price, to Bradley A. Fulton at AC&T's corporate office in Hagerstown. Fulton is listed as the resident agent of Oak Ridge XVII LLC, according to the state Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Fulton did not return a call for comment Monday afternoon.

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