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Monday, May 14, 2007

Lock Haven University May Want Adelphia Headquarters

By: DONALD GILLILAND/Potter Leader-Enterprise

The president of Lock Haven University said Friday that his university may be interested in establishing some type of academic facility in Coudersport.

Dr. Keith Miller did not use the term "branch campus," but he said the university was exploring the possibility of locating academic facilities in Potter County.
"It's premature to talk about details," because the plans are only in the discussion stage, said Miller.

"We have a good number of alumni in the Northern Tier area, and it's just a matter of exploring what possibilities there are up there."

Miller said he has already toured one of the former Adelphia buildings recently vacated by Time Warner - the former Adelphia headquarters building - and said he thinks it might be a fit with his university's plans.

Enough of a fit to pursue discussions further.
"We're coming up just to talk to people in the community who are involved ... to see how we can be helpful perhaps," said Miller. "We're going to come up there with an open mind and see where the discussion takes us."

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Brockway, has been working with other legislators from the region to find new businesses to locate in Coudersport to help the community rebound from the loss of over 500 jobs at Time Warner earlier this year.

Representatives from Lock Haven University are scheduled to meet with Scarnati June 1 in Brockway to discuss the possibility of establishing an academic facility in Coudersport.
A spokesman for Scarnati said Friday, "We need to use every resource available to curb the job loss in Potter County, and if Lock Haven University is able to help us do that, we're certainly willing to discuss it with them."

Tom Bowman, aide to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, said, "I've been working with (Lock Haven) a long time on this."

Bowman said a university facility in Coudersport would mean "money into the economy."
"It's jobs, it's students coming into the area and spending their money, it's housing for students that could fill up some of our vacant apartments," he said.

The only catch is the building Lock Haven is interested in developing is the same building the Potter County Commissioners claimed earlier this week as their own.

The commissioners do not have title to the building, but they said Time Warner is willing to donate it to them and that it would make a perfect courthouse annex.
Rep. Martin Causer, R-Turtlepoint, said the commissioners' announcement was "short-sighted."
Causer said, "I still think we should be looking to get a job creator in there and keeping that building on the tax rolls, but the commissioners have been firm in stating they're taking the building ... quite frankly, we disagree."

Previously, two of the three commissioners said they would abandon plans to turn the building into an annex if there was a company willing to move into it.

The commissioners were unavailable for comment Friday afternoon.

Lock Haven's president Miller said, "We're delighted to have the conversation, and if things work out well ... all the better for everyone."

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