Courting the Board of Education Downtown

HAGERSTOWN, MD - The courting begins as Hagerstown city officials tried persuading the Board of Education by saying "we want to take away every reason for you to not move downtown."

"There's something appealing about being in a downtown, where there is energy and commerce and excitement," says Justin Hartings, Washington County Board of Education.

The Board made it clear inside their current facility that they're still looking at all their options in the county.

"The facility is going to have to accommodate more than just the staff and the Board of Education," says Paul Bailey, Washington County Board of Education. "It's going to have to be serviceable to the public, also."

The Board of Education's concerns include costs, the safety of the downtown area and parking their more than 200 employees. They also won't be rebuilding at their current location on Commonwealth Avenue.

City Officials say they'll take care of the parking by building a deck where employees can park for free.

"Every part of me believes that a Board of Education in downtown amongst the other governmental facilities is simply a logical choice you know for the community," says Kristin Aleshire, Hagerstown City Council.

A downtown central office would be near city and county offices, the new library, the School for the Arts and the university.

The Greater Hagerstown Committee presented four viable downtown sites. Councilman Aleshire favors West Washington St. or the Antietam and Potomac St. site.

"We're certainly going to listen to the representatives of the Board of Education and try to do the right thing for all of education in Washington County," says Terry Baker, Washington County Commissioner.

City officials even asked County Commissioners for their assistance, but it'll be up to the Board to determine where they go from here.

The Board of Education says they're going to figure out the costs of all their options and compare them with one another.

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