Central Location Viewed As Cost-Efficient, Accessible
LA PLATA, Md.—After months of careful consideration, the Board of Trustees of the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) has entered into an agreement to purchase 50 acres in Hughesville for the colleges fourth campus. The owner of the property is Hughesville Station LLC.
The colleges administrators and trustees took additional time to ensure that we made the right decision. We used the following factors in our decisioncost, accessibility, visibility, size and ease of development. Were confident that this property meets our criteria and were pleased to be moving forward, said CSM Board Chair Austin J. Slater Jr. in making the announcement.
CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried said the process of selecting a location for a fourth campus began with a recommendation to the trustees for a centralized campus in order to better serve the colleges students in a more cost-effective way. We are now offering academic programs that are just too expensive to be offered on multiple campuses, Gottfried said, noting the college already has a full-service campus located in each of the three counties it serves. It seemed prudent to place these programs in a central location where the residents of all three counties can have equal access.
The new campus in Hughesville will initially house CSMs Center for Trades and Energy Training (CTET), which is currently operating in a leased facility in Waldorf. According to Gottfried, the college has outgrown that 18,000-square-foot facility and a 40,000-square-foot facility is being planned.
"Locating the fourth campus in Hughesville demonstrates the commitment of the College of Southern Maryland and the Charles County Commissioners to making higher education more accessible, and Charles County is honored to have the College of Southern Maryland presence in an area that the commissioners are focusing on for revitalization. Centrally locating the Center for Trades and Energy Training in Hughesville is exciting news as it presents a major opportunity for the tri-county region and our citizens. This will result in providing all residents within the tri-county closer proximity and access to workforce development, which is essential in order to move our region forward in developing our economy, said Charles County Board of Commissioners President Candice Kelly.
Charles Commissioner Ken Robinson, whose district includes Hughesville, added, I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Dr. Gottfried and the Board of Trustees for their foresight in continuing to grow and enhance the College of Southern Maryland. I think it is safe to say that this exciting decision by the College of Southern Maryland is the official jumpstart of our Hughesville Revitalization Plan. The county will assist in any way possible to make this happen sooner, rather than later and we hope this is the beginning of establishing a college town atmosphere for Hughesville."
Les Gooding, a co-owner of Hughesville Station, LLC, said, We selected our site at All American Harley-Davidson for the same factors as CSM. We wanted to be as convenient and visible as possible to the residents of Southern Maryland. The property is across Route 5 from the dealership and is zoned as a Planned Employment and Industrial Park. The Center for Trades and Energy Training is a perfect fit for the planned use of this property and the new campus is consistent with the vision of the Revitalization Plan adopted by Charles County.
We are thrilled to be selected as the home of the College of Southern Maryland's new campus. The Village of Hughesville will derive great economic benefits as a result of the niche markets we envision being created to cater to this young and vibrant demographic, said Hughesville Business & Civic Alliance, Inc. President Pauleen Brewer.
We are excited to work with the residents and businesses of Hughesville in their continued revitalization efforts, Gottfried said, adding, Were confident that our fourth campus will be an ideal fit for Hughesvilles future.
CSM intends to immediately construct its CTET as soon as the engineering and permitting process is complete. CTETs programs put our citizens back to work, making a livable wage after weeks, not years, of training, said Vice President of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Dr. Dan Mosser.
Other buildings that could possibly be built on the fourth campus include a Health Sciences Building and a Fine Arts Center. The college is also considering centralizing its athletic fields, which are currently on the La Plata Campus. We are out of space for growth on the La Plata Campus, said Vice President of Administrative Services Tony Jernigan. By centralizing the athletic fields on the fourth campus, we will not only make access to them easier for all residents of the region, but it also creates possibilities for needed growth on the La Plata Campus.
Once the needs analysis and business plan of a fourth campus were thoroughly reviewed by the trustees, permission was given to begin exploring properties. This began with an RFP process, which was terminated because the process was taking too long to complete and thus disadvantaging landowners. College officials continued to explore options and identified the 50 acres in Hughesville as property that fit all of its requirements: accessible, visible, affordable, buildable and large enough to fit the needs for future college growth.
As part of the process, college officials worked closely with the Boards of Commissioners from Charles, St. Marys and Calvert counties to explain the need for the fourth campus and to discuss ideas for its location. Gottfried said the Charles County Commissioners are supportive of the colleges concept plans for Hughesville, noting Charles County and the state will share in the costs for the new facility. Construction costs for new facilities are split with 75 percent from the state and 25 percent from the county.
As a former student and current employer, I understand the importance of CSM to the region. This new campus effectively positions the college to provide even greater value in the future, Slater said.