Craig on HCC-Towson Building Delay: Education 'Held Hostage'
County Executive David Craig responded to the snafu surrounding Towson University's plans for Harford Community College that occurred in Annapolis.
After contract negotiations for a new building at Harford Community College stalled Wednesday in the Board of Public Works, Harford County Executive David Craig had some choice words for the Maryland lawmakers involved.
"I urge Governor [Martin] O’Malley and Comptroller [Peter] Franchot to set aside personal politics and allow construction of the Towson University facility at Harford Community College to proceed," Craig said in a statement Wednesday evening.
Towson University had been planning to construct a three-story academic building called Towson Center on Harford Community College's west campus, which would offer bachelor's degree programs.
The Towson University branch on campus was intended to provide Harford and Cecil county residents—who may have been deterred from higher education by travel time—with greater access to four-year degrees, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The state was responsible for financing bonds for the $25 million project, and Towson University was to assume the debt, The Sun reported.
Construction was scheduled to begin this spring, with a projected opening date of fall 2014.
However, as the contract came up before the Board of Public Works, the governor and comptroller opted to postpone discussion of the facility.
On the agenda for the March 20 board meeting was a $786,000 request for Turner Construction Company to enter into a construction and management role for the 17-month project at Harford Community College.
The politicians stated that they wanted to wait to make a decision about funding until Towson University President Maravene S. Loeschke could explain events surrounding the university's cancellation of the men's baseball and soccer programs.
"I'm pretty disgusted by what Towson has done ... concerning their athletic teams," Franchot said.
After the board's meeting, Craig issued the following statement:
As a graduate of Towson University as well as the County Executive for Harford County, I am deeply concerned by the action of the Board of Public Works to delay construction of a Towson University facility on the campus of Harford Community College.
In essence, because the Governor and Comptroller are upset with Towson University over a recent budgetary and management decision regarding sports programming, they are now playing politics with the education of students and faculty associated with Towson University and Harford Community College.
I certainly understand the concerns regarding the termination of the men’s baseball and soccer programs at Towson; however, students and their education should not be held hostage because of a difference of opinion on the future of sports at the main Towson University campus.
I urge Governor O’Malley and Comptroller Franchot to set aside personal politics and allow construction of the Towson University facility at Harford Community College to proceed.