HCC board to consider expansion

Trustees to receive plan today that calls for 10 new buildings

$180 million price tag

College must decide what projects are possible over decade

March 22, 2000|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

Howard Community College's board of trustees will receive today a sweeping plan to accommodate fast growth at the campus that envisions 10 new buildings, a 1,500-seat amphitheater, more parking and an outdoor spot where students can gather.

It's up to the college's board to decide how much is feasible in the next 10 years and how to pay for it.

"This gives us the possibilities for our future," said HCC President Mary Ellen Duncan. "We have to decide what we can make a reality. But you have to have a dream, or you're not going to get there."

Architects estimate that it would cost about $180 million for the major projects in the plan.

The facilities master plan, designed by architects with Cochran, Stephenson and Donkervoet Inc., would add 10 buildings on the 120-acre campus in Columbia, including a field house, a student services center and a continuing education building.

The Baltimore-based architecture firm was paid $175,000 to develop the plan. Consultants began work on it in August.

HCC has five academic buildings on its main campus. The newest, for science and technology instruction, was built in 1989.

"We're really behind -- we're short on square footage," said Lynn Coleman, vice president of administration and finance.

Also envisioned in the plan is an amphitheater near the campus lake, an expanded nature trail and three new parking lots, one of which would have two levels.

`A campus environment'

Architects envision that some of the new buildings will create an enclosed outdoor area for students to gather -- a college feature known as a "quad."

"We're trying to develop a campus environment," Duncan said.

Although it's meant as a 10-year plan, Duncan doesn't expect the college will get half the proposals funded that quickly. She's hoping for four buildings in the next decade.

Instructional buildings are the priority, she said.

"We can't offer any more classes," Duncan said. "We simply have to have more space."

In the 1988-1989 academic year, the college enrolled 16,566 students. In the 1998-1999 year, the student population climbed 23 percent to 20,415.

HCC officials plan to build their next facility -- for English, math and computer labs -- in about three years. Duncan said the facilities plan helped them decide where to place that building so it won't interfere with future construction.

"To have this plan before we did this next building is very timely," she said.

`Time for us to get to work'

After the board of trustees sets facility priorities, college officials will seek grants and state funds for the projects.

But "the board hasn't figured out the strategy for funding yet," Duncan said.

"It's now time for us to get to work."

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