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HCC seeks 'very modest increase' in funding from Washington Co.

March 20, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College is requesting about $8.9 million in operations funding and about $250,000 for a roof-replacement project for the next fiscal year, college officials told the Washington County Board of  Commissioners Tuesday.

The request came during a lunch meeting between the commissioners and the HCC board of trustees in the newly renovated Kepler Theater building. During that meeting, the commissioners also heard updates on college enrollment figures, construction projects and new programs.

The college’s fiscal 2013 budget request of $8,931,500 in county funding would be an increase of $66,490, or 0.75 percent, from this fiscal year’s county contribution of $8,865,010. HCC

President Guy Altieri called the request “just a very modest increase.”

The college receives about half of its funding from student tuition and fees, about 23 percent from the state and about 27 percent from the county.

HCC officials are waiting until April, when they will know more about state funding, before deciding tuition rates for next year, said Anna Barker, HCC’s vice president for administration and finance.

The roof replacement would be for the college’s Athletic, Recreation and Community Center. A draft of the county’s capital budget shows $250,300 would come from the county and $455,200 from the state, for a $705,500 total cost.

Another upcoming capital improvement project at HCC is an $8.3 million expansion of the student center. Design work for that project is funded by a state grant and will begin in July, Altieri said. County funds are not needed until future years.

Other highlights of Altieri’s presentation included:
• At a time when many colleges across the state are seeing level or declining enrollment, HCC is continuing to grow rapidly, with a 4 percent increase in enrollment this semester.

• HCC will hold a dedication ceremony for the expanded Kepler Theater on March 30 and for the new STEM — or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — building on April 27. Renovation continues on the science building, to be renamed The Learning Center, and the classroom building, with both expected to reopen by January.

• The college is planning to introduce a dental-hygiene program soon. It already offers a dental-assisting program, but the closest option for the high-demand dental hygienist training is Allegany College. Space in the Career Programs Building is being renovated for the program.

• College officials are seeking a state grant to study the idea of offering a program in which high school students could earn an associate degree at the same time as their high school diplomas.

• HCC’s board of trustees will soon have two new members. Two members have recently resigned — Maggie Hetzer for health reasons and Richard Phoebus to move to Florida, board Chairwoman Carolyn Brooks said. The board anticipates state approval Friday to name John Williamson and Bill Proctor as replacements, Brooks said.

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