Fort Meade, seeking new tenants to replace departing soldiers, will become home to a large storage repository for the Library of Congress, which hopes to build a 12,000-square-foot warehouse on the post.
Details of the project are slim, but Congress on Tuesday passed a military construction bill that includes an amendment appropriating $3.1 million for the project. The bill now awaits President Clinton's signature.
A spokesman for the Library of Congress, Guy Lamolinara, said he had few details because planning is still in the preliminary stages. He said 2 million books would be stored in the warehouse, but he did not know what kind.
The amendment requests approval for a survey to be completed by the Architect of the Capitol, which will determine how much land is needed for the project. The preferred site is 100 acres in the post's industrial zone, North of Route 32 and south of Rock Avenue and First Street.
If the warehouse comes to Fort Meade, it would be one of several new tenants for the post, which is changing from a training ground for soldiers to a "federal office park" and educational complex.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to build a $40 million science center and laboratory that could employ up to 220 people on 20 acres near routes 32 at 175. Construction is expected to be completed by 1996.
Over the next four years, three Department of Defense media training schools will consolidate on post, bringing hundreds of students and teachers. The first, scheduled to arrive next year, will be the Defense Visual Information School, now at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado.
In 1996, the Army Defense Information School, now at Fort Benjamin Harris in Harrisburg, Ind., should arrive. And in 1997, the Navy Photographic School, in Pensacola, Fla., is scheduled to move to the fort.
Next month, the Army's 85th Evacuation Hospital will bring 70 people to Fort Meade. A top-secret intelligence group connected to the National Security Agency is expected to come in the near future.
A spokesman for Fort Meade, Don McClow, said discussions continue with six other prospective tenants, all defense or government related.
The Library of Congress building will create more than 250 jobs for the Odenton area, according to Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat.
"This will be an outstanding addition to Maryland's important and growing information and technology industries," Mr. Sarbanes said in a prepared statement.
Mr. Sarbanes said the library's general collection, mostly books, grows at the rate of 350,000 items each year.
The library has one other other warehouse, in Landover.
The library has been seeking a location for its second warehouse since last year. The storage facility also will include a film and record preservation building.
The military construction bill also allocated $800,000 so Fort Meade can continue revitalizing the Army Intelligence Command buildings.