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Altieri: Groundbreaking at HCC is investment in future

June 04, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • From left, John F. Barr, president of the Washington County Board of Commissioners, Dick Phoebus, Sr., vice-chair of the Board of Trustees for Hagerstown Community College, Carolyn Brooks, chair of the Board of Trustees for Hagerstown Community College, Dr. Guy Altieri, president of Hagerstown Community College, Diane Cho of Cho Benn Holback and Associates, and state Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, ceremoniously break ground for the Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) building at Hagerstown Community College Friday.
Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN -- Usually, groundbreaking ceremonies are for show.

At Hagerstown Community College Friday morning, it was about investing in the future, HCC President Guy Altieri said.

With a shovelful of dirt, educators and community leaders marked the beginning of construction on a multimillion-dollar five-story Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) center on the west side of the campus.

The project also will include renovations to the Classroom Building and the Learning Center.

Altieri called the undertaking "an investment that will permit Washington County to become a serious player in STEM education fields and related economic development opportunities."

"As the community's college, HCC takes very seriously its responsibility to assist county leaders in bringing high-skill and high-wage jobs to the people of Washington County," he said.

"As we build this state-of-the-art STEM building and renovate the two existing buildings in support of educating the people of our region, we are adding potential to the county's future economic and cultural development."

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The 63,000-square-foot STEM building will house labs and instructional space for sciences and technical fields, Altieri said. There will be 11 classrooms, 10 science labs and five computer labs, plus faculty offices.

Diane Cho of the architectural firm Cho Benn Holback and Associates, said the building will feature a LEED -- Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design -- Silver design and will include a green roof, solar panels and geothermal wells for training in the alternative energy lab. The cistern system will recycle rainwater from the planters and will be reused in the third-, fourth- and fifth-floor restrooms.

"The building itself will be a teaching tool, as well as being kind to the environment," she said.

The school also is doubling the amount of parking near the Athletic, Recreation and Community Center and the amphitheater.

A second entrance to the school is planned.

According to the college, the entire cost of the Arts & Sciences Complex -- the STEM building and renovations -- is approximately $35 million, over about three years. Of that, Washington County will cover about $12 million and the state will cover about $18 million. The remaining $5 million, for equipment and furniture, will be shared by the state, county, the HCC Foundation and private grants.

"What is most grand about this project is that it is an excellent example of quality partnerships -- HCC, Washington County government, Maryland state government, the federal government and the HCC Foundation," Altieri said.

Carolyn Brooks, chairwoman of the HCC Board of Trustees, said the new skyline will be "a beautiful and wonderful addition to Washington County."

The STEM building, she said, adds new meaning to the HCC slogan -- "Stay close. Go far!"

"I can't begin to say what this STEM project and renovations mean to this community as we move forward," said John F. Barr, president of the Washington County Commissioners. "Look at the availability of world-class education in our public schools system, the University System downtown and HCC. Opportunities abound, and this is certainly a gem to add to that."

"Because this community college is so successful, other colleges in the community are successful," said state Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington. "We can envision a day when this community will be an educational community. Thanks to Guy Altieri, we're headed in that direction."

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