Howard Community College officials, dubious about financing and state approval of a proposed $5 million teaching nursing home on the campus, plan to wait until a consultant's study is completed next month before deciding whether to participate in the project -- believed to be the first of its kind in Maryland.

The project's developer, Paul Kerschner, president of the National Foundation of Long Term Health Care, unveiled the details of the proposal this week at a meeting of the college's Board of Trustees.

Kerschner said he wants to build a 120-bed nursing home on seven acres on the Columbia campus.

The nonprofit nursing home, scheduled to be completed in 1990, would be next to Howard County General Hospital.

After Monday's meeting, Kerschner said he remained optimistic about his proposal, despite the board's lukewarm review. "It was a good meeting," he said. "They didn't ask knee-jerk questions, but reasonable questions that the {consultant's} study will answer."

The nursing home would provide on-the-job training for college students and serve as a research center for geriatric care.

In exchange for its land, the college would play a major role in developing the curriculum and selecting the teaching and research staff, Kerschner said.

It would be the first comprehensive long-term health care facility in a college setting in Maryland, according to Kerschner and state health officials.

In addition to the elderly, the nursing home would provide care for AIDs patients, mentally retarded adults and people with spinal cord injuries. It would also house a hospice for the terminally ill.

Kerschner said the cooperative program has been successful at three major medical teaching facilities in the past five years. Medical schools at UCLA and Columbia University in New York have linked with Mt. Sinai Hospital to develop similar projects, he said.

Howard Community College officials said Monday they rejected a proposal to build a nursing home on campus earlier this year after a consultant's study concluded the concept was not financially feasible.

But Kerschner told the eight-member board that he expects different results from a feasibility and demographic study his office has commissioned.

The study, to be done by an Alexandria consulting firm, is expected to be finished in about three weeks.

College officials agreed Monday to postpone action until the report is completed.

Kerschner said the "graying of America" in the next century will increase the long-term health needs of the elderly. Howard planners predict the county's population over age 59 will almost double by the year 2000, from 14,000 to 23,400.

However, Kerschner acknowledged the project faces an uphill battle for funding and state approval.

College president Dwight Burrill said Monday it was "very unlikely" the board would sell or lease school property to Kerschner for the project.

And state law, Burrill said, prohibits the two-year school from incurring long-term debts for private projects.

Bobo's Day Care Promise Howard County Executive Elizabeth Bobo said this week that her administration may not open a child day care center for county employes after all.

Bobo, who had pledged during her campaign to open such a facility as a "model" to other employers, said she was aware that her first year in office had yielded "no tangible results" on the issue of day care. Her staff has been collecting information from other counties and private businesses, she added.

"Although we had talked about providing day care for countyemployes. . . right now we're not sure that is the best place for us to place our efforts," Bobo said.

Another possibility being explored is to offer county employes a "cafeteria-style" package of benefits that would allow them to pick services to suit individual needs, Bobo said.

Child care was also on the minds of local business leaders and Howard County's state legislators last week at the Chamber of Commerce's annual "Eggs and Issues" breakfast.

In a 17-page legislative agenda presented to the elected officials, Chamber members endorsed the use of voluntary incentives to encourage businesses to make child care more available and affordable to workers. They also urged the General Assembly to create a fund for providing direct loans to day care providers and to simplify the state's licensing requirements.

Other subjects identified as being integral to "promoting a healthy business climate" were transportation and education. The chamber officially supported lobbying efforts to acquire state funding to build Rte. 100, an east-west link planned for the area north of Columbia, to widen Rte. 216, and to begin light rail service along the Rte. 70 corridor. Other proposals that got the nod were the county's bid to have a state math-technology center in Howard and the school system's effort to increase the state's share of its construction budget.