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Morgan State plots $149 million campus expansion

Morgan State University is undergoing a major expansion of its campus in northeast Baltimore, on property it owns at Hillen Road and Argonne Drive. The new west campus will contain the long-awaited Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management, opening in 2015, and the Behavioral and Social Sciences Center, to open in 2017. Together, the two buildings cost around $149 million.
An undetermined amount of funding is being sought for a third building and parking garage on the site, according to Cynthia Wilder, a Morgan State planner. Morgan State owns more than 170 acres, of which 143 acres constitute the main campus for its approximately 8,000 students.

The expansion is taking place on nine Morgan State-owned acres on the west side of the main campus. Part of the property is occupied by the Northwood Shopping Center, although Wilder didn’t have an acreage breakdown. The shopping center will remain and the Morgan State buildings will be built next to it. A bridge across Argonne Drive will connect the West Campus to the main campus.
“The main campus is filled and we had no option but to look elsewhere to replace facilities that can’t serve what we need,” she says. The new business school will have a trading simulation hall like that of the New York Stock Exchange and offer more hands-on instruction. The social sciences center will contain demonstration spaces, observation rooms and a forensic anthropology laboratory.
Wilder says Morgan State’s business programs are held in a building on campus, McMechen Hall, and will be consolidated in the new business school, which will house management, accounting, hospitality and marketing. The 140,000-square-foot business school cost $82 million, of which the state funded $81 million and Morgan State the rest.
The design process has begun for the Behavioral and Social Sciences Center, a 125,000 square foot facility that will house classes now being held in the circa 1974 Jenkins Hall. Construction will begin in 2015 and the center will open in 2017. The state will issue bonds to pay for the approximately $67 million project, Wilder says.
Wilder says that both the business school and social sciences center will be green buildings, the LEED certification level still to be determined. 
Source: Cynthia Wilder, Morgan State University
Writer: Barbara Pash

Rendering of Morgan State University Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management courtesy of Ayers Saint Gross / KPF Associated Architects. 

MICA opening $16M dorm next month in Bolton Hill

Students at Maryland Institute College of Art looking to live on campus will get new digs next month. The Bolton Hill art college is opening a $16.3 million residence hall as enrollment grows and unveiling a $3 million renovation of its residential complex.
Located at 130 McMechen St., Leake Hall will house 240 students in 62 units. Part of the college's newly named Founder's Green Residential Complex, Leake Hall will include a performance space, lecture hall and artist studios. 

Renovations to the residential complex include a new entrance at the John H.B. Latrobe House and a new student lounge, a grill-style dining facility and expanded laundry facilities at Margaret F.S. Glace Hall. Baltimore architecture firm Hord Coplan Macht designed Leake Hall while Ayers Saint Gross handled the renovations. MICA financed the construction and renovations primarily through tax exempt bonds issued by the school and the Maryland Health and Higher Education Facilities Authority.
MICA has been updating and expanding its campus its facilities and housing in recent years to accommodate its student growth. Renovations to Studio Center, a complex for graduate programs on North Avenue, wrapped up last fall.
In 2008, MICA debuted its $30 million Gateway complex at the intersection of North Avenue and Mount Royal Avenue.  The dorm houses 215 students in apartment-style housing.
MICA enrolls nearly 3,000 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. Enrollment grew 16 percent last year. 
Source: Jessica Weglein, MICA’s director of public relations
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Stevenson University begins $9M renovation of former pharma building for science courses

Workers are moving the final pieces of pharmaceutical equipment out of the former Shire Pharmaceuticals manufacturing building in Owings Mills, as Stevenson University gets set to transform the space into science classrooms, offices and labs.

The final cost to renovate this 160,000-square-foot space remains up in the air, but Stevenson Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tim Campbell estimates it could be around $9 million. The revamped space will open in late 2014 or early 2015 as the new home for Stevenson’s School of the Sciences.

Stevenson purchased Shire’s 28-acre property off Crondall Lane in 2011 to accommodate its growing student body. The $10.5 million dollar purchase price netted the school two buildings – Shire’s former manufacturing plant and Shire’s former administration building —  and a 400 space parking lot adjacent to the school’s Owings Mills campus.

The $1 million renovation of the 18,000-square-foot administration building is nearly complete. It will reopen in September as the new home for Stevenson’s School of Design with three large design studios, classrooms, a sound stage, a broadcast studio, a digital imaging lab, faculty offices and a conference room. More than 200 students are expected to use the building daily.

Stevenson’s own design students and faculty had a lot of input into School of Design’s sleek, new look.

“We worked closely with them and came up with a design we feel is extremely attractive, it’s just a great building,” Campbell says.

Design students and staff also helped with the blueprints for the renovation of the former manufacturing building. Though it will be used primarily as a science facility, it also hold some overflow design classes.

The School of the Sciences and School of Design are both currently on Stevenson’s original campus in Stevenson. The Owings Mills campus, which features residence halls and a stadium, opened in 2004. Shuttle service links the two campuses, which are 6.5 miles apart.

Stevenson is known for its career-focused education, offering over two dozen degree programs ranging from criminal justice, to nursing. It has 4,212 students, about half of whom live on campus. 
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Tim Campbell, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Stevenson University 

Developer plotting $6.5M apartment, office and restaurant project in Mount Vernon

Developer Howard Chambers is spearheading a six-story, $6.5 million apartment, office and restaurant project at the vacant Mount Vernon building where his great-grandfather once ran one of Baltimore’s oldest design firms.
Chambers says he will break ground on 1010 North Charles St. between November and March of next year, adding 35 market-rate apartments behind and above it as part of the 47,000-square-foot project. The building will feature a mix of studio and one-bedroom units, with an average size of 640 square feet. Residents will have access to a rooftop patio. 
The building will contain a 2,850-square-foot restaurant with outdoor dining. The type of eatery remains wide open, Chambers says. The building’s second floor will be turned into office space. Chambers says he is still working on the final configuration of the building.
1010 N. Charles St. was once the headquarters of 108-year-old design firm, The H. Chambers Co., which moved to Baltimore office building Montgomery Park in 2006. It most recently housed Bath Time Inc., a showroom containing high-end faucets and other bath hardware that closed four years ago. 
The Mount Vernon Belvedere Association, The Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation and the city’s planning department have all signed off on the project. Engineering studies are underway.
Mount Vernon’s many transportation options make 1010 North Charles an attractive location for apartments, Chambers says. “Right next door there are 14 Zipcar spaces, the bus line to and from Hopkins, the train station to and from D.C. is three or four blocks north of the site, so apartments make a tremendous amount of sense.”
Mount Vernon has attracted more interest from developers as enrollment at the University of Baltimore has grown from 5,000 to 7,000 in the past five years. Since UB doesn’t have dorms, many of those students are clamoring for nearby apartments. Plus, Chambers thinks 1010 North Charles will attract hospital workers from Mercy Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital, as well as faculty from University of Baltimore's new law school building set to open next month.
Writer: Amy Landsman; [email protected]
Source: Howard Chambers, president of 1010 North Charles LLC

UMBC seeks state money for $13M in road upgrades

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County is laying the foundation for two major construction projects: the second phase of its $125 million humanities and performing arts building, and a proposed $12.9 million new entrance on UMBC Boulevard and Hilltop Circle at its Catonsville campus.

Funding for the project is included in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed fiscal 2014 budget. If the Maryland Legislature approves the governor’s proposal, the money will be available in July.

Campus architect Joe Rexing says preliminary engineering and design work will begin then if the budget is approved. If all goes well, construction will start in late spring of 2014.

“We are very hopeful. I think it gives us some confidence that it shows up in the governor’s proposed budget,” Rexing says.

After numerous rear-end collisions, UMBC officials expect the new entryway will make the campus a lot safer by replacing existing stop signs with two roundabouts. The plans also call for roadway improvement and landscaping on Hilltop Circle, and upgrades to the garage.

Traffic on the campus has grown along with enrollment, which has risen by nearly 25 percent since 2000 to nearly 13,000 undergraduates and graduate students.

Rexing says vehicles tend to go fast as they exit I-95 and Rolling Road, heading onto the campus via UMBC Boulevard. Vehicles also tend to stack up in the ramps during rush hour, also leading to crashes and problems.

“The interchange dates from the 60’s,” says Rexing, explaining the school plans to replace existing stop signs with two roundabouts.

As campus officials plot the road project, another major construction project is entering its second phase.  

The second phase, which includes a 350-seat concert hall and recording studio, is under construction and will open in the fall of 2014.
The first phase of the school’s new 178,000 square-foot performing arts and humanities building opened in September. It’s now home to the theater and English departments, three new writing labs, a 275-seat proscenium theater, a 120-seat black box theater and rehearsal space.
Writer: Amy Landsman
Sources: Joseph Rexing, UMBC architect; John Jeffries, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

A New Partner Dances Into the Creative Alliance

Watch out for new movement in East Baltimore as the Rayn Fall Dance Studio expands to a second location at the Creative Alliance in Highlandtown.

Classes operated by the woman-owned dance workshop will take place in the Alliance’s black box theater, which holds concerts, movie screenings and their annual holiday craft fair.

Morgan State University graduate Sharayna Christmas Rose founded Rayn Fall Dance Studio in 2004 and operates the other location at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center.

The Creative Alliance struck a partnership with Rayn Fall after the education coordinator enrolled her stepdaughter at the studio. She admired the program and thought dance would make a good addition to the Alliance’s community outreach. At the same time, Rayn Fall was seeking to expand in southeast Baltimore.

“We are a community based organization, and so is Rayn Fall Dance Studio, so it was such a good marriage,” Creative Alliance Marketing Director Helen Yuen says. The collaboration is a natural extension of the after-school arts education programs the Alliance currently offers to the community.

Classes for the winter session include for Mommy & Me Creative Movement education for toddlers, as well as ballet, tap and hip hop for elementary kids.

Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Helen Yuen, Creative Alliance

Jewish Community Center Opening Federal Hill Branch

The Jewish Community Center of Baltimore is branching out to downtown Baltimore, opening a Federal Hill branch just for parents and kids. Opening Jan. 14, the center fills the void for city families who have long been frustrated by the lack of children’s gyms and other fun places for preschoolers’ downtown.

The JCC has leased 2,000 square-feet at 1118 Light St., between West and Cross Streets. The former office space will feature a drop-in playroom, a play area, a nursing room and a room that parents can rent for birthday parties.

 “We’ll have age appropriate toys and a clean, comfortable space that parents can come and have their kids play,” says JCC Family Program Coordinator Kim Jacobsohn. “Our goal is to create communities for families to connect with each other,” Jacobson says. “I’m very excited to finally be giving birth to this new project.”

The downtown branch joins the JCC’s two existing campuses in Park Heights and Owings Mills, both of which feature full-service fitness facilities and programing for all ages.

For the past five years or so, the JCC has been offering family programming in borrowed locations in Fells Point, Canton, and Federal Hill, and has long wanted a permanent place to call home.

“We decided to go to Federal Hill because we realized in Federal Hill there’s more likely to be a stay-at-home parent, or a parent who’s working from home, than other neighborhoods in downtown,” Jacobsohn says.

The first floor space is stroller accessible and members can park in a lot behind the building. Jacobsohn and a part-time program facilitator will staff the new facility.

The drop-in rate is $5 per child up to three times, after that, families are asked to join the Downtown JCC. The introductory membership rate is $50 a year.

The JCC is an educational, cultural and recreational agency. You do not have to be Jewish to become a member or sign up for a class.

The JCC will continue to offer its Hello Baby class for parents of newborns, and Infant Massage, in Fells Point and Canton. Other parent-child classes for babies and toddlers will move to the new location in Federal Hill.
Source: Kim Jacobsohn, JCC Family Program Coordinator
Reporter: Amy Landsman, [email protected]

MICA Food Truck Rolls into Bolton Hill

Hungry students and residents of Bolton Hill have a new way of grabbing food on the go.
Maryland Institute College of Art's (MICA) new mobile kitchen, The Artist's Palate, now provides sandwiches, falafels, burritos, tacos, soups and hamburgers at a variety of food and drink locations around the art school's campus community.
The college spent approximately $100,000 to get the former bread truck up and running with a kitchen that includes refrigeration, a sandwich station, and a deep fryer. The truck is operated by Parkhurst Dining Services and managed by MICA.

Since launching last month, the food truck has been a hit with students, workers, and neighborhood residents alike, says Chris Bohaska, MICA's senior director of operations business services.
A food truck has been planned for the campus community for a couple of years, Bohaska says. The combination of the expansion of the campus onto North Avenue, as well as the unique schedule of MICA students who often take full-day studio art courses, provided the impetus to find a 'creative solution' to provide a variety of food options to the campus community.
Using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to broadcast its location, the food truck cycles to various campus spots. Social media will enable customers to determine which locations serve the community best, Bohaska says. Its schedule and locations will fluctuate semester by semester.
Food trucks on college campuses are relatively new, Bohaska says. He also believes that the campus is the first in Maryland to have a food truck operated by the institution.
Source: Chris Bohaska, MICA senior director, operations business services
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Autism Care Provider to Construct New School

Linwood Center Inc., an Ellicott City school and adult services provider for people with autism, will use $500,000 in state bond funding to plan, design and construct a new school building.
The approximately 36,000-square-foot building will have a capacity for 70 students when the building has its scheduled opening the fall of 2013, Linwood Center Executive Director Bill Moss says. The expansion of the student population will likely mean that the school could add as many as 40 new instructional staff by the time the school opens, Moss says.
Funding for the $6.5 million project came from Linwood Center through fundraising, private donors and state and local governments.
The new school will be a "state of the art" learning center for kids with autism, Moss says.
The current school building serves 24 students in a historic mansion that was converted into a school. In recent years the school turned away students because space doesn't exist, Moss says.
The lack of space to accommodate kids with autism comes as the demand for autism care is at an all-time high. Over the past 10 years, the incidence of autism in children has dramatically increased and the demand for services is great, Moss says.
"One in 80 children have autism in the state of Maryland. In Howard County, it’s one in 73 kids," Moss says.
The new school will have a large gym and multipurpose room, a full kitchen, a library and computer lab, rooms for various therapie and a fully functioning teaching apartment to train youth in living skills. The school currently serves youth ages 9 to 21, but the new school will accept younger children.
Construction on the site started in June with the removal of a building on the property. Usable parts of the building were donated to Habitat for Humanity.
Source: Bill Moss, executive director, Linwood Center Inc. 
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Higher-Ed Startup StraighterLine Moving Out of ETC

StraighterLine, a Baltimore startup that recently got $10 million in venture funding, will soon move out of its incubator into a place of its own.

Seeking to accommodate its expanding staff, the company plans to relocate as early as Aug. 1 to a new, 6,000-square-foot office, tripling its space, says Marketing Manager, Steven Pope.
Its current space in The Johns Hopkins University Eastern Campus at 1101 E. 33rd St. in Waverly is 1,900 square feet and part of the Emerging Technology Center.
The company is still firming up a location, but the new space will be "five to 10 minutes away" from its present office, Pope says. 
"(We are) trying to capitalize on the market's readiness for a change in the education industry. We're trying to become the Amazon of online education. That's obviously a big goal, but we're one step closer to achieving it this year because of our expansions," Pope says.
The relocation is being supported by a $10 million investment to the company made in part by FirstMark Capital, a New York venture capital firm. CityLight Capital and Chrysalis Ventures also contributed to the investment.
Since the beginning of the year, the company has grown from 11 employees to its current staff of 22. It plans to grow to 30 employees in the next few months, Pope says.
The company is currently hiring subject matter experts and marketing and  software development staff.
StraighterLine provides entry-level, online college courses for credit in a variety of subjects. They follow a self-paced, independent study approach to online learning. Students can transfer courses taken at StraighterLine to a variety of partner colleges that offer degrees.
Pope says that with students facing mounting college debt, the company aims to offer low-cost and low-risk college credit options.
CEO Burck Smith founded the company in 2009 after launching Smarthinking, an online tutoring company.
Source: Steven Pope, marketing manager.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Patterson Park Charter To Complete Construction This Summer

Patterson Park Public Charter School will use $50,000 in state bond funding this summer to complete the construction and renovation of its facilities, says Patterson Park Public Charter School Executive Director Ed Rutkowski.
Specifically, the funds will be used to renovate the facade of the original St. Elizabeth Church on East Baltimore Street facing Patterson Park, a building purchased by the school and used as its cafeteria, gym, library, tech lab and business offices.
Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation through the National Trust for Historic Preservation provided matching funds of $50,000 toward the renovation.
"It's great for the neighborhood to have it looking good…we're restoring it to its former glory," Rutkowski says.
The school acquired the St. Elizabeth Church building in 2008. In 2009, planning began for the expansion and improvement of the school site including renovations to the church and the construction of a new middle school building.
Since then, the state issued $13.7 million of tax exempt bonds, and that money was used for the acquisition of the original church building, and construction of middle school building which includes six classroom, an act facility and a science lab.
The renovation of the facade will complete construction of the school site. The facade renovations required the removal of lead paint, necessitating additional funding to complete the project.
The school removed the form stone on the front of the cafeteria building, and plans to restore the facade to its original appearance. The church was built in 1895.
Representatives from Baltimore’s 46th Legislative District helped the school secure the funding, Rutkowski says.
The school serves 621 students and their families in grades pre-K through 8.
Source:  Ed Rutkowski, executive director of Patterson Park Public Charter School
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

State Bond Bill Earmarked for Baltimore Design School

A new transformation school in Baltimore has gotten help from the state in designing its future.
Baltimore Design School will use a $200,000 state bond to help renovate the school's future location in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District and add to its operating fund, says Paul Jacob, Chair of the Facilities Committee for Baltimore Design School.
A bond bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2012 legislative session funded the grant along with a total of $7.5 million in various projects across the state.
Baltimore Design School, a Baltimore City Public Transformation School, focuses on applied design fields including graphic design, fashion design, and architecture. The school currently has classes for grades 6 and 7, but will eventually serve more than 600 students in grades 6 to 12. The school opened last fall and is in a temporary location in the Kenilworth Park neighborhood of Baltimore until the renovations are complete.
The school began renovations at the site at 1500 Barclay St. last month and contractors so far have gutted and cleaned the interior of the building. The building sat vacant for more than 20 years but was most recently used for clothing manufacturing, Jacob says.
Contractors will work to improve the structural frame of the building including exterior brickwork.
Over the next year, the school will go through the basic construction process including laying all of the utility lines, putting up drywall, and refitting the entire building with new windows.
Eventually the school will provide state-of-the-art computer labs and technology to support the ever-changing design fields.
Construction is expected to be completed by May 2013 and is on schedule, Jacob says.
Source: Paul Jacob, chair of the facilities committee for Baltimore Design School.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Baltimore Teachers Union Expanding Headquarters

The Baltimore Teachers Union is getting a makeover.
The union submitted an application to the city's zoning board to renovate 10,000-square-feet of existing office space along with construction of a 20,000-square-foot addition at the union's headquarters on Metro Drive in northwest Baltimore.
While the union is still in the planning stages of the process, Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English says that the union plans to create a professional development center for its members at the location.
The teachers' union current professional development center is housed in a school that provides limited access for the union, English says.
In addition to providing staff development in the space, the union plans to partner with universities to provide both undergraduate and graduate level college courses.
The office is trying to centralize all projects in one space, English says.
While the budget for the project wasn't disclosed, English says the BTU has a capital campaign committee that is exploring how to fund the project. 

Source: Marietta English, Baltimore Teachers Union president
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Construction Begins on Columbia's Newest Performing Arts Venue

Two area theater organizations will have a new home in Columbia late this year. 

Construction on the new 10,000 square-foot Red Branch Theatre began last week, with approximately 40 community members attending its groundbreaking ceremony, says Ray Weiss, the theatre's publicist.
Red Branch Theatre Company, a theater company founded in 2008, and Drama Learning Center, a theater education organization, will both be housed at the new location near the intersection of Red Branch Road and Old Annapolis Road in Columbia.
The project is being financed by the Sanford Companies Inc. 
Owner and artistic director of Red Branch Theatre, Stephanie Lynn Williams, hopes the space will provide additional resources for the community of Howard County in the area of dramatic and performing arts.
Williams also owns Drama Learning Center, which offers year-round production and acting classes for youth from grades pre-K to 12.
The new space will include a 200-seat theater, a reception area, a backstage area, and two rehearsal spaces, Williams says.
With the expansion, the Drama Learning Center plans to hire additional teaching staff, and the theater company will hire a new technical director for the space, Williams says.
The space will also be available to rent, which will address the demand for performing arts space in Howard County, says Weiss.
Sources: Ray Weiss, publicist for Red Branch Theatre; Stephanie Lynn Williams, owner and artistic director of Red Branch Theatre.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

UMBC to Request $37M from State for Arts Building

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County plans to ask the state for $37.4 million at the 2012 General Assembly session so it can break ground this summer on the second phase of the school’s performing arts and humanities building.

The $165 million facility will be the Catonsville school’s largest building to date.

The building is being designed and constructed in two phases. The first phase will open July 1 and includes performing spaces, scene shops, and academic rooms for the department of theatre and classroom spaces and offices for the English department. It broke ground in 2010.

With the funding UMBC hopes to receive from the General Assembly, the university hopes to break ground of the second phase and complete it by summer of 2014.

UMBC hopes the construction of the building will raise the profile of the arts and humanities programs on campus.

"We do want people to know that we have vibrant arts and humanities programs at UMBC even though we might be better known for our programs in the sciences," says UMBC’s Director of Arts Management Thomas Moore.

The current facilities at UMBC are not up to standards for the arts and also make student-professor interaction difficult in the humanities since certain faculty members have to share offices, Moore says.

Some of the highlights of the building include a 350-seat concert hall, a 275-seat theatre, as well as dance and recording studios.

Many high-tech additions will be made to classrooms to make learning more interactive and to improve the learning environment. The building is also on track for LEED certification, Moore says.

The school enrolled more than 13,000 arts and humanities students in the fall.

Writer: Alexandra Wilding
Source: Thomas Moore, UMBC
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