CCC planning $12.9 million expansion

2 buildings to boost fine arts, business, fitness programs

`A tremendous help'

Completion set in '02

school likely to close annex on S. Center St.

July 07, 1999|By David L. Greene | David L. Greene,SUN STAFF

Music, drama, physical education and work-force development programs at Carroll Community College are about to get a significant boost.

And lots more space.

The school will break ground next year for a $12.9 million expansion that includes two buildings:

A fine arts and business building that will house a theater, art studios, music practice rooms and conference facilities for local businesses to train their employees.

A fitness building that will include a new exercise center and classrooms and faculty offices.

The project is expected to be completed in January 2002. At that time, the college will likely close its annex on South Center Street -- which houses the fitness center and business training facilities -- and turn that property, a former elementary school, over to the county.

Alan Schuman, executive vice president for administration, said the project is part of a master plan for the college approved by the county in 1984.

He said bringing the business facility to the main campus will allow participants to take advantage of state-of-the-art computers. A more convenient fitness center will encourage more students to take wellness courses or exercise, he said.

"The old adage, `out of sight, out of mind,' is very true for what we now offer," Schuman said. He added that a light fitness class is required of all students, "but the other offerings have limited enrollment because it's inconvenient."

Faye Pappalardo, who took over as college president this month, called the business center "a tremendous help to the businesses and industries of Carroll County."

The college already had customized training courses for dozens of companies, such as AT&T, Random House Inc. and Black & Decker. But Pappalardo has made it a priority to meet with corporations and improve these training programs, and she called the new center a big step in that direction.

The two new buildings -- designed by architects Probst-Mason Inc., who also handled the previous expansions -- will be in the same geometric style as the rest of campus. There will be 58,000 square feet of new space.

The theater in the larger, two-story fine arts center will have 460 seats, and the music practice rooms will have acoustic tiling. The college now offers a handful of music courses and no drama courses.

The business-training rooms will be upstairs from the theater.

Half-court gymnasium

The second, one-level building is to house a half-court gymnasium, workout facilities, four classrooms and 14 offices for faculty or staff.

It will be the college's third major expansion since the new campus was opened in 1990. The school added a second classroom building in 1993 and a library in 1997.

Until three years ago, the college was planning only to add a new theater in 2002, then wait for more funding to complete the other facilities.

But in 1996, Schuman and then-college President Joseph F. Shields toured Chesapeake Community College on the Eastern Shore and were impressed by its combined theater and business and industry center.

Similar plan envisioned

While returning to Westminster, Schuman said, the two decided they would try a similar plan here.

The theater was expected to cost about $10 million.

Schuman and Shields presented a plan to the county and state -- which are funding the project -- suggesting that if they pumped in an additional $2 million, the college could get the fine arts, business and fitness centers now, albeit in a smaller space.

The county and state would save $17 million, the funds required to build the proposed business and fitness centers at a later date, assuming only the fine arts facility was finished in 2002.

The state and county agreed. The state is contributing $7.3 million to the expansion, and the county, $5.6 million.

"If you come up with the money for this now," Schuman remembered telling the county commissioners in 1996, "we won't bother you for 10 years. We'll go away."

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