Expansion to meet need, with room for growth Celebration: Villa Julie College in Green Spring Valley is holding a dedication ceremony today for two buildings that ease a severe space crunch on the campus.

Urban Landscape

April 23, 1998|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

VILLA JULIE College began in a few rooms of the old George Carroll Jenkins mansion in Green Spring Valley, home for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

It soon expanded to the carriage house and stables on the mansion's grounds. Then it slowly gained buildings of its own.

But only within the past year has it had the space it needed to accommodate its students with room to grow.

That extra room came with two buildings that practically doubled the learning space on the campus: an academic center and theater that were completed last fall and a student union and athletic center that opened in January.

Today, college administrators, students, faculty, alumni and /^ guests will celebrate completion of those buildings with a ceremony that begins at 4 p.m.

They will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Villa Julie, which was founded in 1947 as a one-year college for medical secretaries and graduated its first class the next spring. Graduates from each of the 50 years have been invited, along with local dignitaries.

"We are thrilled with these new buildings," said President Carolyn S. Manuszak, the driving force behind the $31.5 million expansion. "They've worked out even better than I had hoped."

Designed by Ziger/Snead Inc. of Baltimore, the buildings were constructed to ease a space crunch caused by a surge in enrollment at the four-year college off the 1500 block of Greenspring Valley Road in Stevenson.

Named for Belgian-born St. Julie Billiart, 18th-century founder of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Villa Julie has 2,000 students, making it the fifth-largest private college in Maryland.

Manuszak said the college has expanded to catch up with the needs of its students. In this case, she said, the additional space gave the college room to accommodate the student body and grow as well.

"We were hopelessly overcrowded before," she said. "Students were studying in stairwells, in their cars. There wasn't much space to hang out, so they didn't. Now we have a gym, a theater. These two buildings really complete the campus, and they do it in a magnificent way."

The two brick buildings each contain about 50,000 square feet of space. They include classrooms, study areas, lecture halls, faculty offices, a gymnasium, art gallery, cafeteria, computer center, dance pavilion, video studio, editing rooms and the 386-seat theater.

The college has restored the second floor of its library and is building science laboratories where the old student union was.

The college has negotiated an agreement with Baltimore County that calls for it to limit enrollment on its Green Spring Valley campus at 2,500 students.

It also agreed not to build on its 60-acre campus.

However, the college has found other ways to expand. It operates a corporate education program, primarily for graduate students, at Woodholme Center near Owings Mills; a paralegal program in Harford County; and off-campus housing for up to 300 students near Owings Mills.

With its growth, the college has tried to maintain a sense of community among students, faculty and administrators.

"We wanted to create the kind of spaces that would bring people together -- students and faculty, old and young," said Rose Dawson, vice president and dean of the college. "We wanted to give students a home away from home."

Baltimore Heritage to hold neighborhood walking tour

Baltimore Heritage, a preservation advocacy group, is sponsoring a walking tour through some of the city's most historic and picturesque neighborhoods, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at the University of Baltimore's Gordon Plaza, Maryland and Mount Royal avenues.

The tour is designed to give participants a chance to meet people who live, work and shop in historic downtown neighborhoods, and hear stories about the notable buildings the areas contain. Participants will follow a trail from Mount Vernon and Bolton Hill through the heart of downtown and south to Ridgely's Delight, Otterbein and Federal Hill.

Proceeds will benefit Baltimore Heritage. Registration is $10 in advance and $15 the day of the tour, and includes a T-shirt and parking. Call 410-605-0462 or arrive at Gordon Plaza at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The goal of the tour, called the Historic Downtown Neighborhood Hop, "is to showcase how Baltimore's historic neighborhoods and buildings have been and can be successfully adapted to modern uses," said Bill Pencek, president of Baltimore Heritage.

"Downtown neighborhoods like Mount Vernon and Federal Hill, where large numbers of older buildings have been preserved, are among the most diverse and lively places in the region ," he said.

"Of course, the best way to appreciate these places is on foot."

Pub Date: 4/23/98

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