AACC plans expansion to tap Arundel markets

$10 million facility proposed near mall

May 25, 2001|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel Community College is expanding its campus with a $10 million educational facility planned for construction near Arundel Mills to meet the demand in growing West County.

The 65,000-square-foot, four-story building will be north of the mega-mall's Muvico Movie Theater, a prime location to attract more West County residents who often attend closer community colleges in Howard or Prince George's counties.

"This is making it easier for people," AACC spokeswoman Fran Turcott said yesterday. "There's a lot of business to be served out there."

In plans released during ceremonies at the site yesterday, the Arnold college will lease from the Mills Corp. 4 acres in Hanover outside of Ring Road for the full-service facility, estimated to be finished by spring 2003. The AACC Foundation will finance the construction with tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds, Turcott said.

County Executive Janet S. Owens said the collaboration between the college, county, Mills Corp. and college foundation will help strengthen the county's work force. She said she hopes other higher education institutions, such as Morgan State University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will later join AACC in the expansion.

"My hope is that we'll see many flags flying from there ... many different educational institutions so we can have that full array of educational opportunities," she said.

The new facility will augment the college's evening courses taught at Meade High School. The college attracts fewer students from West County, one of Anne Arundel's fastest growing areas, than any other part of the county, Turcott said.

"We have recognized for the past 10 years that we need to offer more, and we need to expand what we're doing there to serve the population," she said.

At the facility, students will be able to take classes toward associate degrees in general studies, computer technology and business administration. A partnership with four-year colleges and universities to enable students to pursue advanced degrees at the facility also is expected.

"With offering a business transfer program, anyone interested in getting into management positions at the Mills would consider us as a potential provider of education," Turcott said.

Dennis J. Connolly, vice president and senior development director of Mills, said the college and mall will complement one another.

"We just couldn't be more pleased to have them on site," he said. "It just furthers our partnership, plus it's a wonderful use to have there."

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