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O'Malley's capital budget proposal includes at least 12 Washington Co. projects

Projects include $9.7 million for window and heating systems replacement at MCTC

January 21, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |

WASHINGTON COUNTY — Gov. Martin O'Malley's fiscal 2012 capital budget proposal includes at least a dozen projects in Washington County.

The largest funding amount is $9.7 million to replace housing unit windows and heating systems at the Maryland Correctional Training Center, one of three state prisons south of Hagerstown.

Another $6.4 million is earmarked for upgrades to the interchange at interstates 81 and 70.

Five other projects, totaling nearly $6 million, are proposed for Washington County Public Schools.

Hagerstown Community College has two projects on the list, including $4.7 million for an arts and science complex.

The capital budget has $2.5 million for Western Maryland Regional Library and $1 million for the renovation and expansion of Washington County Free Library.

Overall, the governor proposed $3.1 billion in capital spending for the coming fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

"The $9.7 million announced in the capital budget is to replace cell windows and the heating systems in Housing Units #1 and 2 at the Maryland Correctional Training Center (MCTC)," Erin Julius, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Division of Correction, wrote in an e-mail.

 "It's the first step in a staged plan to replace the cell windows and heating systems in all six of the original, early 1960's-era housing units at MCTC, making that institution more energy-efficient. We hope, as a result, to save in operating costs."

The largest Washington County Public Schools amount is $2.5 million for the new Antietam Academy, which recently opened.

Another $2.3 million is proposed for the planned Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School.

Boyd Michael, the deputy superintendent of Washington County schools, said in a telephone interview that the school system heard in December that those amounts had been recommended.

Next week, the state Board of Public Works will hold its annual hearing in which school systems across Maryland lobby for additional school construction money.

Washington County will ask for another $1.7 million for Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School and $761,000 for Antietam Academy, as well as $396,000 to replace a roof at Pleasant Valley Elementary School and $270,000 to replace windows and doors at Northern Middle School, Michael said.

The governor's overall budget kept public school education funding steady at $4.9 billion, not including contributions to the state retirement system.

Under the plan, 14 school systems would lose funding and 10 would gain funding.

Washington County, according to the budget proposal, would see its funding increase $7 million in fiscal 2012, from its level of $151.2 million in the current fiscal year.

The 4.8 percent gain is the second highest in the state, after Montgomery County's 6.3 percent.

Michael said the funding changes appear to be due to enrollment changes. School systems with a rising rate of students receiving free and reduced meals, such as Washington County's, will get more money according to funding formulas.

Washington County projects

The Washington County projects included in Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed fiscal 2012 budget include:

  • Maryland Correctional Training Center, housing unit windows and heating systems replacement: $9.73 million
  • Upgrade to interchange at interstates 81 and 70: $6.4 million
  • Hagerstown Community College, arts and science complex: $4.77 million
  • Antietam Academy: $2.5 million
  • Western Maryland Regional Library: $2.5 million
  • Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School: $2.3 million
  • Washington County Free Library, renovation and expansion: $1 million
  • Barbara Ingram School for the Arts: $634,000
  • Smithsburg High School: $363,000
  • Hagerstown Community College, performing and visual arts education center at Kepler Theater: $213,000
  • Boonsboro High School: $195,000
  • Program Open Space local grants: $146,333
  • L. Beard Miller Swimming Pool renovation: $35,000

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