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HCC board approves contract for traffic improvement

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A right-hand turn lane from Schucks Road onto Route 22 (East Churchville Road) will be built to improve traffic at the intersection near Harford Community College to accommodate traffic that will be generated once Towson University building opens on campus.

Members of Harford Community College's Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $164,420 contract for the turn lane during their meeting Tuesday.

Harford County officials require the college to fund the project to mitigate traffic impacts, which traffic studies indicated would be the result of the college's Towson University in Northeastern Maryland facility, said Rick Johnson, the college's vice president of finance and operations.

Harford Community College is considered the developer, and county officials typically require developers to fund improvements to area roads and intersections to lessen the impact of the additional traffic generated by their projects.

"Through traffic studies it has been determined that we are going to affect that intersection negatively and we must mitigate that situation by adding a right turn lane [to Schucks Road]," Johnson explained.

The three-story Towson Building, which will take up 55,000 square feet, is under construction. When complete, it will provide space for Harford and Cecil County residents to take Towson University classes at Harford Community College.

The facility is being built west of Thomas Run Road on the college's Bel Air campus. It will have a capacity of 1,450 students and is expected to open in the fall of 2014.

Five of the Board of Trustees' nine members – Doris Carey, John Haggerty, the Rev. Cordell Hunter, Bryan Kelly and Chair James Valdes – were at Tuesday's meeting, and they voted to award the contract to Daisy Concrete Inc. of Maryland, part of Daisy Construction Co. of Newport, Del.

Johnson said Daisy is the concrete contractor on the Towson Building project. He said officials with Towson University, part of the University System of Maryland, had agreed to fund 50 percent of the cost of the right-turn lane.

Daisy was the lowest of two bidders; Greene Construction Co. of Pylesville offered a $224,730 bid.

Johnson noted the college would have to acquire property from the seafood business at the corner of the intersection to build the turn lane.

Although the five board members present approved the contract, two members, Haggerty and Hunter, took issue with having to fund traffic mitigation projects.

"I'm just worried about us getting stuck with things in the future that have to do with lanes and left turns," Haggerty said.

College President Dennis Golladay said college officials are "in discussions" with Harford County Executive David Craig and county department heads about the traffic projects.

Johnson said the college has been "very active" on the matter.

"We've had a series of meetings with them to talk abut this," he said.

Golladay noted the college had to take on the Schucks Road project.

"At this point in the [Towson] project it's something we simply to have to do, or we can't get the permits to open and use the building," he explained.

Hunter responded matter-of-factly.

"Forge ahead," he said.

Outside employment policy

Board members also reaffirmed the college's policy prohibiting full-time employees from being employed outside their jobs with the college if the work interferes with their primary jobs.

"It simply states that the outside employment cannot interfere with the duties of the full-time employment that they have here at the college because that's their primary responsibility," Golladay said of the existing policy.

Haggerty asked Golladay if employees need permission to have another job or operate a business.

"No, but if we determine that their outside business or employment interferes, then we have a right to demand that they, not exactly cease and desist, but that they alter the situation so that their jobs here are not affected," the college president said.

The board members did not make a motion or vote on changing the policy.

"If there's no further discussion we will leave that policy as it's currently written," Valdes said.

Continuing Education & Training impact

Zoann Parker, associate vice president for Continuing Education & Training, provided details Tuesday on the 2013 activities and finances of an arm of the college that serves thousands of students who wish to advance their personal knowledge or obtain retraining in their job fields.

Enrollments increased by 1,430, from 25,229 for the 2012 fiscal year to 26,659 during FY2013. That number was still much lower than the 31,963 enrollments for FY2009, according to Parker's presentation.

Parker noted that "the economy has shifted so much," and there is a greater focus on retraining members of the workforce who have lost jobs in industry and seek training for a new field.

Students of all ages can take classes in a variety of fields, including adult literacy, classes for youths such as drama and music, preschool for children ages 2 to 5, driver's education, adult classes for various skills and hobbies, computer certifications, health care, management and leadership training and industry training, according to the college's website.

"The industries are coming to us, which is marvelous, wonderful time to be in workforce development," Parker said.

Expenses for Continuing Education & Training have risen from $3.37 million in FY2009 to $4.34 million in FY2013, according to Parker's report.

Income from tuition and fees has also increased, from $3.63 million in FY09 to $4.55 million in FY13, and the net operating revenue in FY13 was $2.04 million, compared with $2.83 million in FY09.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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