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School officials mull building proposals

July 19, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

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The issue: Washington County Public Schools officials are considering using the former Allegheny Power building on Downsville Pike for a school or office site. In June, officials began accepting bids for a feasibility study of the site.

What's new: Twelve proposals were received from different companies. The proposals did not include cost estimates for the study.

What's next: Officials will select three or four of the companies and invite them for an interview. At that point, companies will share cost estimates for the study. Officials hope to make a recommendation to the Board of Education in August.




HAGERSTOWN - Twelve companies are interested in studying the former Allegheny Power building on Downsville Pike as a possible school or office site for Washington County Public Schools.

School officials said last month they were accepting bids for a feasibility study of the site, and Boyd Michael, assistant superintendent for school operations, said 12 proposals were received.

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Michael has said the site could be used for a new Antietam Academy or for central office space. He also said the building could house a future magnet or academy program.

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

Allegheny Energy sold the 97,754-square-foot building to Oak Ridge XVII LLC in 2005, according to an Allegheny spokesman. The structure was built in 1968.

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

The proposals received each were from a different company, and do not include price estimates for the study, Michael said. That information will be revealed during interviews officials will schedule with three or four of the companies.

"They make a presentation, and sort of sell their company to us," Michael said. "They elaborate on the proposal. At that point, they'll share what it will cost, what we could get for what cost."

After the interviews, the proposals will be discussed by several committees.

Michael said officials would like to make a recommendation to the Board of Education about the feasibility study proposals during a business meeting in August.

Based on the bids, the board could choose not to go through with the study, which will include a document listing the pros and cons of putting office space or classrooms there.

School officials have said future 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.

Michael has said that before moving forward with that plan, officials wanted to determine whether it would be cheaper to use the Allegheny building for Antietam Academy. He also had said the school system needs additional central office space, and space that is more functional.

Other options include moving an academy program, a math and science magnet program or a signature program to the Allegheny building.

Michael said part of the feasibility study might include information about whether a school bus parking lot could be constructed. The school system already rents space near the former Allegheny Power building to park buses.

If officials vote to conduct a feasibility study, it would include whether the site is a good fit for any of the options being considered, Michael said.

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