Washington County public safety projects get big bucks in Md. budget

$8.6 million in school construction also included

$8.6 million in school construction also included

January 18, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

ANNAPOLIS - In Maryland's proposed 2009 capital budget, public safety holds the top two spots on the Washington County project list.

Gov. Martin O'Malley has included $14.8 million for a new Maryland State Police barrack in Hagerstown and $12.6 million for a new 192-cell housing unit at Maryland Correctional Training Center.

The capital budget also has $8.6 million for construction projects at four Washington County public schools.

Hagerstown Community College is on the list, too, with $831,000 toward the cost of a new Arts and Science complex.

The overall $31.5 billion state budget proposal O'Malley released Wednesday represents a 5.9 percent increase in spending over fiscal year 2008.

The capital budget alone is $1.5 billion.

Hagerstown's current state police barrack is 9,200 square feet and 35 years old, while the new one would be 11,750 square feet, said Bill Ebare, the capital projects officer for the state police.


The two-story replacement would have a training classroom and a forensics lab. Depending on staffing, police would test latent fingerprints there instead of sending them to a police lab in Pikesville, Ebare said.

The state fire marshal's Hagerstown office, in a rented storefront on Jonathan Street, would move to the new barrack's second floor, said Larry Iseminger, an engineer in the office.

The fire marshal's office is a division of the Maryland State Police.

Along with a new barrack, the state police would get a new garage, with an extra bay for a bomb squad trailer that now sits at a volunteer fire hall, Ebare said.

The existing barrack and garage would eventually be demolished, he said.

The MCTC housing unit would hold 384 inmates, roughly the number living in Quonset huts there.

Retired MCTC correctional officer Steve Berger - a Western Maryland representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents officers - said the huts were meant to be temporary, but have been used for about 20 years.

The housing unit project is expected to cost about $39 million, according to state Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services spokesman Mark Vernarelli.

About $26.8 million was approved in the fiscal year 2008 budget, he said in an e-mail.

O'Malley's new budget has $2 million to buy "individually fitted stab-proof vests" for correctional officers.

The vests are "something we think should be available to every correctional officer that wants one," Berger said.

Instead, at MCTC, there are only enough vests for a segregation unit, where their use is mandatory, he said.

The largest capital fund item for a Washington County public school is $5.9 million to build Rockland Woods Elementary School at the Westfields development off Sharpsburg Pike.

The school is expected to open in August and cost about $22.7 million.

The capital budget also has $1.6 million for Pangborn Elementary School, $716,000 for Greenbrier Elementary School and $370,640 for Maugansville Elementary School.

This year, the school system plans to open a $23 million replacement school for Pangborn Elementary and a $21 million replacement school for Maugansville Elementary.

School officials have said they'd seek state money for a new roofing system at Greenbrier Elementary.

State money for HCC would be for planning and designing a $30 million Arts and Science project, spokeswoman Beth Stull said. The Classroom Building and the Science Building would be renovated and connected and an additional 65,000 square feet would be built.

Washington County Arts Council Executive Director Kevin Moriarty was pleased the state budget has $16.5 million for the Maryland State Arts Council, an 8.4 percent increase.

Calling state funding "a rising tide that lifts everybody," Moriarty said money filters to such Washington County causes as Western Maryland Blues Fest, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

Staff writer Erin Cunningham contributed to this story.

Capital budget ? Washington County list

Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed fiscal year 2009 capital budget includes the following Washington County projects:

· New Maryland State Police barrack and garage in Hagerstown ? $14,820,000

· Maryland Correctional Training Center, 192-cell medium security housing unit and support space ? $12,641,000

· Hagerstown wastewater treatment plant

· disinfection upgrade, phase 3B ? $7,550,000

· enhanced nutrient removal ? $5,000,000

· headworks improvements, phase 4 ? $3,000,000

· Rockland Woods Elementary School, Westfields development ? $5,888,000

· Conococheague wastewater treatment plant

· enhanced nutrient removal ? $3,700,000

· expansion ? $1,652,000

· Hagerstown, new West End storage facility ? $2,003,000

· Pangborn Elementary School ? $1,593,000

· Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village water treatment plant upgrade ? $927,000

· Hagerstown Community College, Arts and Science complex ? $831,000

· Way Station Inc. ? $800,000

· Hagerstown sewer collection system rehabilitation ? $800,000

· Greenbrier Elementary School ? $716,000

· Program Open Space grants ? $386,558

· Maugansville Elementary School ? $370,640

· Winebrenner wastewater treatment plant, enhanced nutrient removal ? $270,000

· Boonsboro library branch ? $230,000

· The W House of Hagerstown Foundation Inc. ? $225,000

· Town of Williamsport, River Bottom Park, boat ramp and parking project ? $99,000

· Veterans Park improvements ? $75,500

· Walnut Street Community Health Center Inc. ? $75,000

· Byron Memorial Park in Williamsport, phase III improvements ? $66,000

· Greenbrier State Park, boat ramp improvements ? $60,000

· Hagerstown City Park improvements ? $30,400

· Hellane Park improvements ? $30,400

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