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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 8, 2003 | Vol. 33 No. 2
Montgomery County Campus Boom Begins

David Edgerley, director of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development; JHU President William R. Brody; and Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The actual build-on-it soil rested a bit on the soggy side, but the ceremonial dirt was nice and dry for the groundbreaking of the much anticipated third building of the university's 15-year-old Montgomery County Campus in Rockville, Md.

The morning event, held on Sept. 4 at the campus's Central Building Auditorium, drew a large, high-powered crowd that included Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.; David Edgerley, director of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development; university President William R. Brody; and other top-level Johns Hopkins administration.

The 115,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed by summer 2004. The L-shaped facility will add about 50,000 square feet of classrooms and related academic and research space to the 98,000 square feet in the first two buildings; it also will include space to be leased to other tenants--primarily science- and technology-related companies, agencies or organizations--with whom Johns Hopkins will establish academic, research or other collaborations. Features of the new building include wet labs, computer labs, meeting space and a larger, 1,000-square-foot campus bookstore.

Provost Steven Knapp, senior VP James McGill and Joanie Millane of JH Real Estate receive commemorative construction trucks from Elaine Amir, campus director.

The new structure is the next piece of the planned total buildout of the 35-acre site. The master plan of the campus includes expansion over the next 10 years to seven buildings totaling 700,000 square feet of academic and research space.

The governor said in his remarks that the day was a celebration of both the "long-standing relationship between the state and Johns Hopkins" and the pivotal role the Montgomery County Campus will play in attracting the best and brightest researchers and leading technology companies to Maryland.

"I'm very proud to be here today. This is a terrific, terrific facility, and I really can't wait to see it built out even further and the jobs and the economic activity generated from this great collaboration begun by a wonderful university. Congratulations, everybody," Ehrlich said to the more than 200 in attendance.

In his opening remarks, David Edgerley wryly brought attention to the rainbow that hung over Montgomery County on the rain-soaked day.

"I am absolutely convinced that that rainbow is symbolic of Johns Hopkins' marvelous investment and marvelous commitment here today," Edgerley said. "And I think the pot of gold from our perspective is in your office, Gov. Ehrlich, at the end of the rainbow."

Gov. Ehrlich talks with Gary Ostrander, associate provost for research.

Montgomery County currently has the nation's third-highest concentration of biotechnology firms and is the world's largest center for gene research. Many of the courses offered at the Johns Hopkins campus 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.

President Brody said that the construction of this new building is "a very important project that is going to help create Maryland's high-tech future." He went on to laud the governor on the creation of the Commission on the Development of Advanced Technology Business, chaired by George F. Pappas, a patent trial lawyer at Venable, Baetjer and Howard.

"To achieve leadership, we must create a critical mass of advanced technology and biotechnology companies clustered around our research institutions. That is precisely what we are doing here at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. It is to that end that I thank Gov. Ehrlich for his vision and leadership in creating the Pappas Commission," said Brody, who sits on the 20-member advisory group. "The governor has recognized the state's opportunity, and its need, to become a leader in today's technology community and is putting his support behind this important effort."

When Maryland becomes the No. 1 technology center in the nation, Edgerley said, "we will know from today forward that Johns Hopkins will have played a critical role in that process."

Elaine Amir, director of the Montgomery County Campus, said that although the rain kept the construction trucks away on this day, work on the new building is already under way and that it will be "totally operative" for the fall 2004 semester.

"For Johns Hopkins, today is a literal breaking of ground, but we break ground every day here, through research and innovation and the creation of new partnerships," Amir said. "Everything about what we are doing here is a celebration of creativity and innovation, just like [President Brody] said."

Opened in 1988, the Montgomery County Campus--located in the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center along the Interstate 270 corridor--hosts more than 60 part-time graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs that annually attract more than 8,300 course enrollments. Classes are offered by the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Whiting School of Engineering, the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Among the university attendees at the groundbreaking ceremony were Steven Knapp, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; James T. McGill, senior vice president for finance and administration; Daniel Weiss, dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences; Andrew Douglas, interim dean of the Whiting School of Engineering; Ralph Fessler, dean of the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education; and Gary Ostrander, associate provost for research and associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. The invited guests of honor in-cluded Montgomery County state senators, delegates and County Council members. Also on hand were a number of people involved in the development of the real estate.


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