High-tech center takes root with high hopes

August 07, 1994|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Sun Staff Writer

The money is in place, the contract has been awarded, and now the ground has been broken.

Excavation on the Higher Education and Applied Technology Center in Aberdeen began Wednesday at a ceremony that drew about 100 officials, residents and educators from Harford and Cecil community colleges.

HEAT -- a collaborative project of the colleges, the county, city of Aberdeen and the state -- is expected to provide expanded educational and technological opportunities for the citizens of Northeastern Maryland. The initial, $1.15 million academic building will anchor a 150-acre complex at Route 22 and Interstate 95.

The brick, 10,285-square-foot building will contain classrooms, a computer laboratory and a signature tower. It is the first step in a project created to attract college degree programs to the 12-acre campus.

Currently, HCC has a partnership with the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore to offer baccalaureate degree programs on its campus. The HEAT center will augment that effort, college officials said.

"You can stay at home and earn a baccalaureate degree, and that is what is going to happen here eventually," Leland C. Sanborn, chairman of the HCC board of trustees, said at Wednesday's groundbreaking.

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann added: "This is just the beginning of what we can do."

Discussions also are being held with several other four-year institutions to bring their degree programs to the HEAT center, ,, said Frances M. Turcott, director of marketing and community relations at HCC.

No high-tech companies have committed themselves to the site, but "we're looking at targeting the marketing," said Denise Carnaggio, acting director of Harford's economic development office.

The first academic building, being built by J. M. Comer Construction of Forest Hill, is expected to be completed next summer.

"[HEAT] will make Northeast Maryland a better place to live and learn," said Robert L. Gell, president of Cecil Community College.

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