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Towson University class building at Harford Community College celebrated

Outside the building, it was Thomas Run Road and the nearby fields of semi-rural Bel Air. But inside, it was all things Towson University.

More than 300 community leaders, college officials and assorted guests came out Friday to the official opening of Towson University in Northeastern Maryland, the $22 million building across the street from Harford Community College's Joppa Hall.

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"Isn't there a psalm about the lion lying down with the lamb?" HCC President Dennis Golladay joked during the ceremony, where he was flanked by HCC mascot Screech the Fighting Owl and Towson mascot Doc the Tiger.

"I hope the tiger and the owl lie down together in peace," Golladay said.

The 55,000-square-foot, three-story building is the culmination of a partnership between HCC and Towson, and officials from both institutions called it a win-win.

"It's hard to express just how important this site is to our community and to our students," Golladay said. "I think it is a perfect partnership."

Since the start of the fall semester, Harford residents have been taking Towson classes at the new building.

Students like Edgewood's Brittany Martin, who spoke during the ceremony, said the "2+2" program, under which students take their first two years of classes from HCC and the last two from Towson, will save them money on gas by letting them get a Towson bachelor's degree without the commute to Towson's campus.

Harford's public school system is the second-largest employer of Towson alumni in Maryland, and its community college is the second-largest feeder school to Towson, the university's acting president Timothy Chandler told the audience.

"It's one of the most anticipated projects in the nearly 150 years of Towson University," Chandler said, thanking Harford leaders for "making us so welcome in your community."

"A huge number" of Towson's transfer students come from Harford, Chandler said, noting the BRAC process and Aberdeen Proving Ground also "provides a unique demand" for the university's needs.

James LaCalle, who retired as HCC president in 2010 and helped create the partnership for the building, was among those attending the ceremony.

"It wonderful," he said about the completion of the building, calling it "good for everybody."

"Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ideas," he added.

Dorms?

With the Towson University project completed, a Harford County Council member signaled the potential for more campus construction projects down the road.

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Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti, who is running for state delegate, said after Friday's opening ceremony that she hopes to eventually see dormitories built at HCC.

A major snag in that plan is the county's development envelope – a designated growth area, which would need to be expanded for any residential buildings because of increased water and sewage disposal needs. The HCC campus, which is outside the envelope, is not served by public water and sewer, but uses wells and an on-site wastewater treatment facility.

Lisanti noted, however, that there may be a way to connect sewer service to the dorms, as the existing development envelope boundary ends just west of the new Towson building.

She said she has been speaking with state officials and others on such a plan.

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