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MICUA Matters Newsletter

MICUA Capital Projects

Winter 2017

For the 2018 fiscal year, MICUA is requesting $9.9 million in State capital grants to support construction and renovation projects at Goucher College, McDaniel College, and St. John’s College.  These projects will address strategic academic initiatives on each campus including STEM education, new academic program development, and enrollment growth.  They also support the liberal arts mission of each institution through creating academic facilities that promote engagement in teaching and learning and maximize opportunities.  Collectively, these three projects will support over 300 new construction jobs in Maryland and leverage $30 million in private investments. 

Goucher College is requesting $4 million to design and construct a new 59,000 square foot science building to create modern laboratory spaces and interactive learning facilities for teaching and research in the sciences.  The $27.4 million project will result in a building that houses classrooms, classroom labs, research labs, and student lounge spaces.  It will include a cell and genetics lab; anatomy lab; environmental and biology lab; and introductory biology, molecular biology, and organismal labs.  The new building will be constructed to LEED Silver standards, use renewable energy sources, and feature a rainwater collection system.

Goucher’s new science building will be adjacent to the Hoffberger Science Building, which was built in phases between 1953 and 1981.  This building has insufficient classroom and lab space, inadequate ventilation and mechanical systems, and aged chemical storage facilities.  The science classrooms and labs in Hoffberger do not meet the basic requirements expected in modern college science facilities and will be converted for other academic uses in the future.

Goucher’s newest academic facility will be configured for modern teaching methods and pedagogy and will offer tremendous improvements in quality, efficiency, and functionality.  The design of the new space moves away from the traditional classroom lecture and follow-up lab model.  Instead, it features blended classrooms where teaching and lab spaces are combined for a more integrative and interactive learning approach with discussion, group projects, and lab work happening in the same space.  The renovated building’s new capabilities will allow the program to meet current demands in higher education for hands-on, interactive coursework as opposed to the traditional lecture style courses for which the building is currently designed.

Over the past several years, Goucher has experienced substantial student enrollment growth in its undergraduate science programs in the biological sciences, biochemistry and molecular biology, chemistry, and environmental studies.  The College has also earned a national reputation as offering a top post-baccalaureate pre-medical program for students preparing for medical school.  With the addition of this new state-of-the-art science building, the College will be well-positioned to continue to attract talented science students and to explore new areas of program development.   

McDaniel College is requesting $3 million for renovations to the Gill Physical Education Learning Center (GPELC), which houses the College’s undergraduate and graduate Exercise Science and Physical Education (EPE) programs.  The total scope of the $6.6 million renovations covers 29,221 square feet and will result in the conversion of underutilized spaces into highly functional and flexible classrooms and labs for the EPE program.  EPE is currently McDaniel’s largest and fastest growing undergraduate major, enrolling over 160 students and experiencing a 157 percent increase in degrees conferred between 2008 and 2015.

This enrollment growth has led to severe academic space deficiencies in recent years which created scheduling conflicts among various programs and activities scheduled at the GPELC, and a lack of spaces that are suitable for academic instruction.  After these renovations, EPE classrooms and labs will be in closer proximity to each other, and more options for both types of learning environments will be available to accommodate need and the growing demand. 

The renovation plans that McDaniel has developed involve three areas within the GPELC.  First, the

College will construct new classrooms and labs through excavating and renovating unfinished space in the basement of the building.  Second, it will construct two new large classrooms by enclosing an underutilized mezzanine area that is currently used for storage. 

Finally, the College will install a folding acoustical partition to subdivide the Main Gymnasium in half.  The partition will allow the space to be used by two classes at the same time, which is especially important in courses with movement-based activities that require more space than is available in typical classrooms and labs.   

The GPELC’s renovations will provide McDaniel with opportunities to continue to grow its undergraduate and graduate EPE programs and to expand the scope of its course offerings and research.  The College will be well-positioned to educate even more EPE graduates who are competitive candidates for careers in the allied health and exercise and sport science fields. 

St. John’s College is requesting $2.9 million as part of a $5.9 million project to renovate McDowell Hall, the College’s 24,700 square foot central academic building, which was built in 1744 and last renovated in 1989.  McDowell Hall is historically significant to the State of Maryland as the original, intended governor’s mansion and one of the buildings that established Annapolis’ stature as the State capital. Today, it serves as the academic center of St. John’s College and houses several seminar-style classrooms; student mailboxes; a coffee shop; and the Great Hall, which hosts campus convocations, lectures, musical performances, theatrical productions, an Renovations to McDowell Hall are critically important, given that the building’s major systems are already at or beyond the end of their life cycles.  This has resulted in a number of ongoing problems in the building, including lack of temperature regulation, insufficient air flow, low lighting, and lack of noise control.  In addition, the current restrooms and elevator lift in the building are not ADA compliant, creating accessibility issues for students, faculty, staff, and guests with disabilities. 

In response, St. John’s is proposing building-wide system upgrades to McDowell Hall, including the replacement of outdated electrical and technology systems, heating and cooling systems, lighting and acoustics, plumbing, and flooring.  To address ADA accessibility, the project will include renovations to the elevator lift between the basement and first floor of the building, so that it is wide enough for wheelchair access. The basement restrooms will be renovated to ensure handicap accessibility, and accessible restrooms will be added to the first floor of the building, where none currently exist. 

These renovations are important to maintain McDowell Hall as the College’s central academic building, while preserving its historic character.  The significance of the building to the academic mission of St. John’s cannot be overstated.  Failure to keep the building operational and accessible would severely impact Annapolis’ history as well as the College’s academic operations and ability to serve current and future students.