Governor welcomes $40 million Battelle center

Ohio firm formally unveils plan to build facility near Aberdeen

September 23, 1999|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening joined Harford County and Battelle Memorial Institute officials yesterday in formally announcing construction of the company's eastern operations facility at the Higher Education and Applied Technology (HEAT) Center near Aberdeen.

The $40 million Battelle center is expected to bring as many as 300 scientific and technical jobs to Harford by 2003. It will strengthen the institute's ties to Aberdeen Proving Ground, where Battelle is a subcontractor on a planned chemical weapons-disposal facility.

"As we all know, the economy of the future is based on knowledge," Glendening said at a news conference. "A private company like Battelle would not be here, would not be expanding here, except for Aberdeen Proving Ground."

Battelle is an Ohio high-technology company that develops products ranging from pharmaceuticals to office copier machines. The company also helped develop compact discs and universal bar codes.

Harford County Executive James M. Harkins said he expects Battelle -- which has annual revenue of almost $1 billion and more than 7,000 employees worldwide -- to attract other technology companies to the area.

Harkins, who has formulated a plan for a "technology corridor" to revitalize communities along U.S. 40, said, "I think this is the first of many" such companies that could locate there. "They [Battelle] work with all types of companies. It's like winning the Lotto."

Earlier, Glendening went on a helicopter tour of the proving ground and drove a tank. Local officials said they wanted the governor to get a perspective of the role that the Army facility, the county's largest employer, plays in the area's economic development.

The new 120,000-square-foot Battelle facility will provide space for offices, research, manufacturing and laboratories. It will be built on the 150-acre site of the HEAT Center, a facility of Harford Community College.

Greg Frank, Battelle's vice president and general manager, said the HEAT Center is an ideal location because of its proximity to Interstate 95 and the proving ground. "We do business all up and down this [I-95] corridor," Frank said. "It makes perfect business sense for Battelle to be here."

Frank said the 300 new employees would join the 110 Battelle employees already working in Harford. The company has several clients in the area and is working with the proving ground on a planned $500 million facility to dispose of mustard agents by 2005.

Battelle also operates the Chemical and Biological Defense Information Analysis Center, a clearinghouse in Edgewood for Pentagon scientific and technical information.

Pub Date: 9/23/99

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