A success since it opened in 1988, the Montgomery County campus has seen a steady increase in enrollments, the expansion of course offerings and academic programs, and active involvement of the nearby business community in developing and participating in courses and programs. Now the time has come for the facilities to grow to match the campus' success.
On Friday, Oct. 23, President William R. Brody, students, faculty, community business leaders and public officials gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking for the campus' second building. (President Brody's remarks are available online.) Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-November with classes starting in January 2000.
"We just need more space. It's that simple," says Elaine Amir, director of centers in Montgomery County and Washington. "Enrollments are expected to leap from 8,000 to 11,000 in the next five years. It's become difficult to find adequate classroom space and to introduce new programs to serve the demand."
The new three-story, 49,000-square-foot structure will meet those growing academic and community needs.
Ten years ago, Hopkins opened its campus in the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center to provide students living in metropolitan Washington access to the university's part-time graduate programs. There are now more than 40 academic programs offered by the schools of Arts and Sciences, Continuing Studies, Engineering and Public Health. Many courses have been developed in academic disciplines that are of particular interest to the growing biotechnology and information technology industries emerging in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.
Course registration during the past decade has increased an average of 25 percent each year, and it is projected that it will increase by 30 percent in the next five years.
The new teaching-research building will include four computer labs with wide-area connectivity and Local Area Network access, biotechnology wet labs, and a bioinformatics lab. It also will house 22 "smart" classrooms configured for video conferencing, compressed ISDN video capabilities, multimedia presentations, transmissions of large databases across T-1 lines and international communications via the World Wide Web.
"Current plans include the completion of the first two floors," Amir says. "The third floor will be constructed as a shell to be converted into classroom and wet-lab space in the future."
Student amenities will include a coffee house, a bookstore and a variety of meeting spaces.
Building costs are estimated at $7.9 million. The State of Maryland has approved a capital grant of $3 million for the project; the remaining funds will be raised by the university divisions that will use the facility.
The 38-acre campus' master plan calls for a total of five buildings, with the original facility acting as the centerpiece of a quadrangle. This second building, planned by Lavigne Associates Architects, will be built by contractor J.R. Austin Co. of Bethesda, Md., in association with the architectural firm of Kling, Lindquist. It will be divided into an academic wing and a services and support wing with a walkway connecting the two. To complement the existing building, its exterior will be pre-cast concrete and will have aluminum-framed windows fitted with gray glass.
Planning for the third building is underway.