Telemecanique site again considered for school system offices

March 09, 1995|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll's commissioners are again eyeing the former Telemecanique manufacturing plant on Bethel Road for school system administrative offices after a private industry abandoned its interest in the building.

The commissioners hope to have a cost proposal to lease or lease and purchase the building by the end of this week from its owner, Westminster businessman Glenn S. Bair.

Mr. Bair did not return a telephone call yesterday. But the commissioners confirmed that the private industry they hoped to see move into the building has rejected it. They have not described the industry.

"I would still like to have an industrial user," said Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown. "But we've come to a situation where we have to call it one way or the other."

Commissioner Richard T. Yates, the president of the board, said county government has "run out of choices" other than moving the school system administrative offices from one wing of the Courthouse Annex to the Telemecanique building.

The commissioners briefly discussed housing school administrative offices at New Windsor Middle School, but dropped that idea after learning that they would have to delay the move at least 18 months because Elmer Wolfe Elementary students will be housed in the school while their school is renovated.

New Windsor Middle also doesn't contain enough space for the offices. County officials said the schools need a minimum of 60,000 square feet, and the New Windsor Middle School building contains only 40,000 square.

Steven D. Powell, county director of management and budget, said staff members called local commercial real estate agents to ask, "Is there anything in Carroll, 60,000 square feet, centrally located?"

The answer, Mr. Powell said, is, "There isn't."

Westminster Mayor Kenneth A. Yowan pitched the Farmers Supply Co. property at Liberty and Green streets to Mr. Brown. City officials see the prospect of lunch patrons and shoppers who would boost downtown businesses if an office building is constructed on the site.

Mr. Yowan said the commissioners "indicated that they were looking at other sites besides Telemecanique. But I haven't talked to anyone about it for the last few weeks."

Mr. Brown said the pressure for a decision comes from crowding in county courts. He said the commissioners also need to decide by April 15 how much money is needed for capital projects in 1995-1996 as part of the county budget process.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell said the county cannot begin negotiating for the Telemecanique property "until we get the proposal from Glenn [Bair]."

The plant, which manufactured parts for home and industrial electrical systems, closed in August 1993. The building is about 154,000 square feet, and school officials have said in the past they also would move maintenance and warehousing facilities into the building if it became their headquarters.

Mr. Yates said county economic development director John T. Lyburn tried unsuccessfully to find industrial prospects for the building. Mr. Lyburn did not return telephone calls yesterday asking for information on why the most recent prospect rejected the site.

Square D Co., a sister company of Telemecanique, volunteered to clean up after tests in 1993 showed that well water contained a solvent. The company received a state permit Jan. 11 to pump water out of the well, clean it and return it to the ground.

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