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Hagerstown Community College growing in Cascade

September 28, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

CASCADE - In each of the three semesters since Hagerstown Community College returned to the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base, enrollment has gone up.

The college started up again in Cascade midway through the spring 2008 semester with about 10 students.

Enrollment rose to about 50 in the summer semester, said Emily Hollins, an HCC recruitment and operations coordinator.

Now, in the fall semester, there are about 80 students, HCC President Guy Altieri said Saturday during a ceremony commemorating the college's renewed presence at the base.

Half are from Maryland, half from Pennsylvania, he said.

HCC's reemergence in Cascade comes as Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) of Columbia, Md., works on a $256 million plan to revitalize the base.

COPT's William Hofmann said HCC was at Fort Ritchie when he started working there more than 25 years ago.

When the U.S. Army shut down the base in 1998, HCC left, too.

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HCC, whose main campus is on Robinwood Drive near Hagerstown, is using a brick building of about 3,000 square feet on the base.

It has four classrooms, including a computer lab. There also is an office, a kitchen and a lounge.

Hofmann said COPT would like to see HCC grow more.

"Nothing would please us more than to have to lease more space," he said.

State Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said Washington County didn't value education when manufacturing and agricultural jobs anchored the local economy, but that is changing.

"I think we're seeing something really good happen before our eyes in terms of education," he said.

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