McDaniel develops a vision for future

Proposed master plan calls for new buildings, more parking at college

Westminster

March 02, 2003|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

If elements of a proposed master plan for McDaniel College are pursued, students could attend class in a new academic building, could play golf on a redesigned course and would have more places to park their cars.

The proposal, which would be the first master plan adopted since 1989, also would address crowded conditions in dorms through renovations.

Dolores J. Snyder, the trustees' vice chairwoman and a board member since 1979, described the 10-year master plan as a well-conceived first step.

"We needed to have a master plan so that we could really plan in a significant way what we will do with existing buildings that are now showing their age," said Snyder, the retired director for pupil services Carroll County public schools. "We are striving to be better than we are in every dimension."

The board, which got its first look at the plan Feb. 22, will vote on it April 12.

A college vice president said the plan would enable the school to improve as it grows.

"We've always had a nice campus, but you always try to take it to the next level," said Ethan A. Seidel, McDaniel's vice president of administration and finance. "Over the next five years, we might grow by a couple of hundred students -- 30 or 40 a year -- but you want to plan ahead."

The school, with a 160-acre campus, has about 1,600 undergraduate and 1,100 graduate students.

Last year, the college hired Derck and Edson, a Pennsylvania planning firm, to ensure that new dorms would be compatible with the campus.

That task evolved into an assignment to create a vision of what the campus could look like within the next decade. A committee of students, faculty and administrators acted as a sounding board for their ideas.

Jamin Bartolomeo, a McDaniel senior who is president of the school's student government and was a member of the committee, said students are concerned about parking issues. He said the plan provides solutions.

"They've given us numerous models and told us this is how your campus could look," he said.

One element of the plan likely to be carried out first calls for moving the college's tennis courts from between Bair Stadium and Gill Center to the opposite side of the center.

In place of the courts, a parking lot on the lower part of Stadium Drive would be expanded. Seidel estimates at least 200 more parking spaces could be added.

"The chain reaction here is pretty involved," he said.

Relocating the tennis courts to what is now the ninth hole of the school's golf course would force a redesign of the course.

The plan also proposes a grand entrance to the college. It wasn't a priority, but after a private donation was announced at the board meeting, it's likely to become a reality.

One sketch shows a large rectangular stone engraved with the school's name set in the grassy area near the Ward Memorial Arch at West Main and Union streets.

The master plan committee also discussed housing issues. Bartolomeo said the North Village dorms being built on the east side of campus would house students while other dorms are renovated.

The plan also calls for renovating the student center, which Bartolomeo says is needed.

Under the plan, a road would run through the campus in a loop, and another academic building would be built, although groundbreaking depends on state funding, which is uncertain, Seidel said.

The 36,000-square-foot, three-story building would be next to the school's library. It would house the undergraduate and graduate education programs, as well as classes and labs in human resources and psychology.

The college also considered its relationship with the Baltimore Ravens, which use the school's fields for training sessions during the summer. Seidel said the team would probably appreciate the extra parking spaces near the training grounds.

Also planned is a new fitness center that would connect to the two athletic buildings. The center would include a swimming pool and a performing arts center. The existing pool in the student center would be converted for other purposes.

Most recommendations in the plan approved in 1989 by the school, then known as Western Maryland College, have been followed, including building a library and a science building, removing parking lots in the middle of campus, and adding more walkways.

Bartolomeo, the student member of the committee, says the proposals form a strong blueprint for the school's future.

"It's helping the college progress," he said. "That's what we're trying to do -- make it a better learning and teaching environment so in the long run it'll help, long after I'm gone."

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