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HCC wants more capital improvement money

Altieri says college might have to delay expansion

Altieri says college might have to delay expansion

November 30, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN ? Hagerstown Community College could be forced to delay a $29.5 million plan that involves building an arts and sciences complex and renovating two buildings if the General Assembly fails to provide adequate funding to community colleges across the state.

HCC President Guy Altieri, college administrators and the board of trustees met on campus Friday with four members of the Washington County delegation to the General Assembly to ask, among other things, for an increase in capital improvement funding for community colleges.

Altieri explained that without state aid, HCC would be faced with several challenges, including expanding facilities to accommodate growth.

According to documents, HCC needs about $29.5 million to renovate two buildings and build the arts and sciences complex. The college is counting on about $17 million of that money to come from the state.

HCC ranks 11th on list of capital improvement requests

Altieri said the arts and sciences complex would provide a state-of-the-art learning center and help HCC support new programs.

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Before HCC receives funding, however, it has to wait in line.

HCC ranks 11th on a list of 34 capital improvement project requests totaling about $134.2 million from 14 community colleges statewide. Given its place in line, the General Assembly would have to appropriate about $80.2 million for HCC to even be considered.

Legislators optimistic about funding

State Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said he was optimistic, but it would be hard to tell what's going to happen before the General Assembly convenes on Jan. 9.

Munson said the Democrats in the General Assembly who support higher education will have to ask Gov. Martin O'Malley to push for capital improvement project funding, considering the governor relied on them to pass an income tax increase last month during a special session.

HCC Trustee Merle Elliott said he hopes the General Assembly remembers the community when it comes to distributing those taxes.

State Sen. George C. Edwards, R-Washington/Garrett/Allegany; Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington; and Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany, also attended the meeting.

"I think they'll get increased funding," Edwards said after the meeting. "Will they get what they need? It's too early to tell. I think we've done well bringing things back to Western Maryland ... I think we'll continue to do that."

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