Education and Technology Center nears fruition

May 29, 1994|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Sun Staff Writer

After several years of false starts and delays, Harford County's Higher Education and Applied Technology Center (HEAT) is about to become a reality.

A construction contract was awarded Thursday by Harford Community College's board of trustees for a $1.15 million academic building to anchor the 150-acre Aberdeen complex.

The 10,285-square-foot center is a scaled-down version of the 30,000-square-foot building that was an originally proposed four years ago but that kept shrinking to keep construction costs within a $1.5 million budget.

Last year, the county and state each set aside $750,000 in construction money for the first building. The state, which is donating the site, has also agreed to pay for basic services, such as extending water and sewer lines from Aberdeen across Interstate 95.

"I'm glad to see it moving ahead finally," said Councilman Robert S. Wagner, R-District E, who expressed concern about the building last month.

Excavation will begin in July on the site off Route 22, and completion is expected in June 1995.

A Harford County company, J. M. Comer Construction of Forest Hill, was the low bidder for the project, which attracted 10 proposals from eight firms.

"This gives new meaning to the term community project," said Ronald R. Eaton, a member of the board of trustees.

The brick-veneer building, which will contain classrooms, a computer laboratory and a signature tower, is the first step in a project created to attract college degree programs to a 12-acre campus, and research park offices and light industrial shops to the remaining acreage.

"Our overall plan is to bring baccalaureate and master level programs that tie into our own program," said Diane Troyer, vice president of academic and student affairs at Harford Community College.

Courses offered at the HEAT site will not duplicate classes at the community college, she said.

HCC is holding discussions with the College of Notre Dame to offer a teacher education degree program at the center, with Morgan State University for engineering and chemistry degree programs and with Loyola College for its master of business administration program.

As one HCC board member said Thursday, Harford residents won't have to travel to Baltimore to get a degree.

No high-tech companies have committed themselves to the site, but the stage is set for development, said Denise Carnaggio, acting director of the county's economic development office.

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