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State grant will help fund Hagerstown arts school

July 29, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- A recently approved state grant will help fund construction of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in downtown Hagerstown. Total cost of the school is estimated to be about $10 million.

Dale Bannon, director of system development for Washington County Public Schools, said officials were anticipating receiving the $250,000 grant.

The grant was funded through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), and will be used to renovate the former Henry's Theater building on Potomac Street.

Officials have said the school that will be open to students in 2009 has an expected enrollment of 300.

"The state of Maryland has been a tremendous supporter of this project," Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said. "DBED's contribution is an investment in our youth and entire community through downtown revitalization and cultural enrichment."

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts is in Hagerstown's arts and entertainment district, which received the designation in 2002 and was recently approved by DBED for expansion and recertification.

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"This project has benefits on many different levels," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a press release about the grant. "Not only will it help to revitalize Hagerstown's historic district, it will create a critical anchor for the city's growing arts and entertainment district and also offer new educational opportunities for the region's youth."

Bannon said that since the grant has been approved, he expects that officials will receive it soon. It will go to the Hagerstown Neighborhood Development Partnership, which holds the lease on the downtown property.

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