A consultant is evaluating potential environmental problems at the former Telemecanique manufacturing plant for Carroll's commissioners, who want to acquire the building to house Board of Education administrative offices.
Commissioner Donald I. Dell said yesterday that the possibility of losing the building to another buyer puts pressure on the county's governing board to make a decision soon.
Commissioner Elmer Lippy said he remains interested in the building, but wants to know more about possible pollution before saying yes to a lease or lease-purchase agreement.
Square D Co., a sister company of Telemecanique, volunteered to clean a well on the property in 1993 after tests showed that it was contaminated by a solvent.
The well was one of five that served the 154,000-square-foot plant, where workers made electrical components. The plant closed in August 1993.
Square D also agreed to pay for the additional tests requested by the county, Mr. Lippy reported. That information could not be confirmed with company officials yesterday.
Mr. Dell said urgency in making a decision comes from the possibility that the building will be sold, not from the Nov. 8 election.
"I hadn't even thought about how that would affect the election," he said. "I guess I'm a dumb politician. I just go along and make decisions the way I would anyway."
Mr. Dell and Mr. Lippy are running for re-election. Commissioner Julia W. Gouge was defeated in the primary, when she ran for lieutenant governor with Republican William Shepard.
Glenn Bair, owner of the Telemecanique building and president of Development Co. of America, confirmed that three or four prospective occupants have looked at the building recently.
James E. Slater Jr., county environmental services administrator, said he could not describe the tests that the consultant is doing because Development Co. of America requested that all testing information be kept confidential.
However, county health officials asked earlier: If the well, which is indoors, is contaminated, could additional contaminants be under the building floor?
Mr. Slater said test results should be available in four to six weeks.
"I think it could be feasible" for the commissioners to make a decision before the election, he said.