Thank you, Elaine.
Good afternoon. I'm delighted to see so many of our friends here today. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire Johns Hopkins University let me take this opportunity to welcome all of you to the ground floor of what will soon be a great new building and a wonderful asset to all of Montgomery County.
Let me tell you a story. A man was told by his doctor that he needed to lose weight and that he should walk five miles every day for a year. A year later, the man called his doctor back on the phone. "Doctor, doctor," he said, "I have terrific news. I lost 50 pounds and there's only one small problem." "What's that?" said the doctor. The man said, "I'm 1,500 miles from home."
Today we have terrific news, in that we're breaking ground for our second of five structures planned for this campus. And the small problem we have is not one of distance but of magnitude. Ten years ago we came to Montgomery County with a lets-try-it-and-see approach. That year we had 892 enrollments, which we considered a very good start.
This year, we have more than 8,000 enrollments, and that number keeps on growing and growing. We're delighted with that-- it shows that what we're doing here in Montgomery County is both useful and needed. But it leaves us with the problem of finding additional space. We filled our first building to capacity years ago, and have been renting additional space since then. But that's not enough.
With this new building we'll have an additional 49,000 square feet of space. This will include smart classrooms, computer labs, a bioinformatics lab, a 100-person multi-media classroom useful for course delivery through distance learning, and a bookstore. There will also be a coffeehouse we hope will become a meeting place for the exchange and generation of new ideas between Hopkins faculty, students and staff and business people and corporate and federal research scientists in our neighborhood.
With 70 percent of the state's biotechnology companies located in Montgomery County, we think these new classrooms and laboratories are critical to the growing educational requirements of this area. We plan to do more research on site and work more closely with the local research community. Our goal is for Johns Hopkins to be an active and recognized partner in the growth and development of the biotechnology, public health, business, education, information technology, computer science and engineering sectors in the county.
Luckily for Johns Hopkins, and I would say, luckily for the residents of Montgomery County and surrounding communities, there are real visionaries at work in government and in the business community who have seen the need for a resource like this. They have worked hard and long to help make this day come to pass, and we'll be recognizing and thanking some of them in this program.
I would especially like to thank the State of Maryland and our legislators who worked so hard on behalf of this effort. The state has approved a capital grant of $3 million toward this project, which has gone a long way toward making this building a reality. We'll be hearing in just a few minutes from Nancy Kopp and Ida Ruben, both of whom deserve special credit for making today possible.
I would also like to thank the people and the government of Montgomery County, who have been so helpful and welcoming to us over the past ten years, and who share our dream of a thoroughly modern center of educational and research excellence here in the heart of the Interstate 270 corridor. In particular, County Executive Doug Duncan deserves our special thanks for all that he has done on our behalf. We thank him for his constant support and for his role in moving us to stage II.
Ground breakings are always exciting, particularly when they initiate a building like this one, where the academic enterprise and the corporate community will have such a chance to connect and grow together. That's what this building will be: a center for intellectual growth, a place for the meeting of many minds. We are very excited about the possibilities the Montgomery County Center holds for the future of this area, for the future of Johns Hopkins, and the economic health of the state of Maryland.
Once again it is my great pleasure to be here today, and to thank you all on behalf of Johns Hopkins for your support and good wishes. This is a tremendous moment heralding a bright future full of untold opportunity.