Schools see little
The impact of BRAC on the local education system has not been as clear.
Harford County Public Schools has not been touched by BRAC changes, Chief of Administration Joseph Licata wrote in an e-mail last week.
"We have not experienced a spike in enrollment yet, so as of now, there has been no direct impact to the school system from BRAC," Licata wrote.
Dr. Dennis Golladay, president of Harford Community College, said his institution is largely in the process of preparing for future BRAC impact — since there's been very little impact to date.
"We think BRAC is going to have very positive economic impacts for Harford County and we want to make sure in higher education we are actually adding to that value, that we are serving the post and serving related industries," Golladay said in a phone interview.
The college's enrollment did increase by 7 percent this year, but Golladay said he does not believe much of that is a direct result from BRAC.
"It's hard to tell actually how much enrollment increase is due to the BRAC effect …The military personnel at the post are being reduced," he said. "That kind of population is moving away."
Still, "we are confident that that's going to be replaced by those associated with BRAC," Golladay added.
The college has seen more interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming, and has launched one major initiative in partnership with APG: the Performance Training Center.
Golladay said the center has offered 19 classes so far for more than 200 students.
Also, the college is getting ready to sign a memorandum of understanding with Morgan State University, in Baltimore, to offer baccalaureate programs in electrical engineering, he said.
"We realize, starting this year, the impact of BRAC could be pretty important in terms of program demand or enrollment numbers," he said.
Job gains, more space
The military shift has brought in plenty of new civilian contractors on post or close by, most notably at places like The GATE (Government and Technology Enterprise) project, which now houses top national companies like Boeing andRaytheon.
The GATE, which is now under control of Baltimore developer St. John Properties, is being developed inside APG's security perimeter under a joint use, enhanced lease agreement with the Army. The developer has already constructed several office/research buildings totaling more than 500,000 square feet and plans several more, plus a commercial center.
There are several other office park projects under development in the Greater Aberdeen area.
Jim Richardson, economic development director for Harford County, said the county has 67 new defense contractors, which does not include the 17 that were already operating in Harford five years ago.
More than 1 million square feet of new space office space, which includes the public and private sector, has either come in or is in the process of coming, he said.
"I think in general, we are seeing what we expected, for the most part," Richardson said. "I think everyone has probably seen a New Jersey or Virginia license plate. We have seen a very positive response. About 65 percent have moved with their job."