Community College could be first tenant in Warfield Complex Sykesville presents plan for employment center to County Commissioners

July 09, 1998|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Carroll Community College could become the first tenant in the Warfield Complex, a property the town of Sykesville hopes to renovate into an employment campus.

In a meeting with the County Commissioners last night, Mayor Jonathan S. Herman presented the town's plan for Warfield, a 138-acre property on Route 32 that the town took over from the state last year. The Westminster-based two-year college has expressed interest in starting a satellite campus in one of the century-old Warfield buildings, the mayor said.

A Higher Education Advanced Technology Center in Sykesville would allow students to interact via computers with instructors in Westminster or at other college campuses in the area. The town has discussed the center several times with college administrators, who have promised to develop a proposal by September.

"We feel very strongly that this project will proceed," said Herman. "It would make education available in the evenings and on weekends. These centers have worked well elsewhere, and they help to create a high-tech, white-collar business area."

The town could also lease space to small businesses in the same building. Those companies could use the center's technology to expand, Herman said.

At the Maryland Municipal League Convention in Ocean City last week, Herman said he approached Gov. Parris N. Glendening with the idea and received a favorable response.

State could help

"I think we can expect state funding for some portion of the project," said Herman, who added that he does not expect to see any funds until after the November election.

County Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown said the the campus center could be the jump start the Warfield project needs.

"Overall, this issue has been nebulous. But we could focus on the center and make it come to convergence," Brown said.

He urged the town to work with the college and the county Economic Development Commission of about 30 area business people.

"Before we spend taxpayers' money, we want the judgment of businesses," said Brown.

The town plans to renovate the 15 buildings at Warfield as an employment campus.

With help from a $30,000 state grant, Sykesville organized a weeklong planning session in April that drew engineers, architects and business and community leaders.

Could take 20 years

The final plan shows pedestrian walkways, parks, a connector road from the town through the property, a hotel and conference center, ample parking and new homes. The project could take 20 years to complete and cost $15 million.

In December, the state Board of Public Works approved the town's plan to annex Warfield and to restore and eventually lease its buildings. The plan creates a partnership between the town and state to develop the property and share in the profits.

Sykesville has completed the the first step in its proposal and submitted to the state what it calls a workable plan for Warfield's future.

Pub Date: 7/09/98

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