The School of Public Health has received a $5 million commitment that will allow it to move forward with plans for an eight-story $6.2 million addition to its Wolfe Street building in East Baltimore.
The donor, an alumnus of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said he made the commitment because he believes that promoting understanding of public health issues ought to be the highest priority of both public and private supporters of health care.
"Understanding new epidemics of old or transformed disease, from cancer to heart disease and AIDS; changes in time-honored medical practices; and thoughtful rules and regulations are critical to successful health care," said the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous. "If the world's oldest and largest school of public health is to continue as the world's best school of public health, it needs more and better facilities. The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health already has the leadership, the faculty and the comprehensive research agenda needed to continue as the world's leader."
The Public Health building expansion, with a planned completion in the summer of 1999, will provide critically needed space for faculty and for doctoral students. It will also house staff--currently located elsewhere--who support the school's innovative distance learning program.
The 36,000-gross-square-foot addition will approximately double the size of the school's recently completed Monument Street wing, which opened in spring 1996. It will be designed by Ziger/Snead, the Baltimore architects responsible for the award-winning earlier addition.
The newest addition will complete the Monument Street facade of the school's building, extending the new wing to the corner of Monument and Washington streets. The university expects to begin construction as early as April.
"This remarkable gift makes it possible for the School of Public Health to capitalize on important new opportunities in research and education," President William R. Brody said. Alfred Sommer, dean of the School of Public Health, said the addition "will make it possible to expand key academic programs, increase faculty in areas that are growing and be even more competitive in attracting top doctoral students.
"Lack of space is impeding the school in many areas," Sommer said. "Without it, we can't effectively recruit new faculty badly needed in such rapidly growing areas as risk sciences and public policy, global health management and infectious diseases, nor support growth in important programs in the departments of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Maternal and Child Health, and Mental Hygiene."
The addition will house a minimum of 150 faculty and doctoral students in offices that accommodate one or more people.
Sommer said the school is seeking a total of $10 million to complete planned expansion and renovations. With the $5 million commitment in hand, $1.2 million more is needed for the new wing, and an additional $3.8 million will be required to upgrade the original Wolfe Street portion of the School of Public Health building, built in 1926 and expanded several times in the 1950s and 1960s. Renovations will include construction of new wet laboratories in areas freed up by relocation of offices to the new wing. The work will also include upgrading of classroom and student work spaces.
The original building currently houses classrooms, laboratories and related academic areas, and offices. The recently completed wing facing Monument Street includes offices and conference rooms.
The striking glass facade of the Monument Street wing was recognized by the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects for giving the School of Public Health a "bold, new and different presence."
The anonymous gift has helped bring the Johns Hopkins Initiative campaign to $829.8 million in total commitments, 92 percent of the overall goal of $900 million for The Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Gifts and pledges of $487.6 million for endowment and facilities represent 93 percent of the $525 million goal in those areas, the primary focus of the campaign. Launched publicly in 1994, the Johns Hopkins Initiative is scheduled to end in 2000.