Building to Include 45,000 Square Feet of Learning Space to La Plata Campus
The College of Southern Maryland celebrated the start of construction to renovate and expand the La Plata Campus’ Career Education (CE) Building with a ceremony on Sept. 24. The original 11,785-square-foot CE Building was completed in 1968, one of three structures on the college’s new campus. The new CE Building will have 45,000 square feet and add 18 classrooms, three computer labs and two conference rooms.
“We need this kind of facility to help us to continue to grow, to be able to add new academic programs that our citizens so deeply need—and that’s what this college is all about,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried. “We are really completing a loop here today. Those of you who might remember back in 1968, we had a campus with three buildings here as Charles County Community College. One-by-one each of these buildings has been renovated to meet the growing needs of our community.”
The CE Building will have specialized facilities for allied health, veterinarian technician, criminal justice and geography classes. It will be the new home for the Social Sciences, Human Services and Teacher Education (SOC) Division, the Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD) Division, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Maryland Center for Environmental Training (MCET), the non-credit Allied Healthcare Training and CSM’s Planning, Institutional Effectiveness and Research Department.
“[CSM] has maintained a tradition that has transcended the years in growth and quality. With reference to our vision of transforming lives, the College of Southern Maryland is a game-changer for thousands of people in our community every year, from our students to our businesses. This is evidenced by my own story and the difference CSM made in providing the foundation to realize my potential. It was in [these buildings] that I came at night after working as a laborer in White Plains at a construction job after graduating high school. I decided I could do better and it was this institution that gave me that opportunity,” said CSM Board of Trustees Chair Austin J. Slater Jr., who is a 1974 alumnus.
Slater added that as CEO for Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) he knew the meaning of training provided through CSM’s CEWD Division which includes services and training for small business owners through SBDC and ongoing training through The Corporate Center. “CSM serves individuals and businesses that spur economic growth within the region,” he said.
“We talk a lot on our Board of Commissioners and in this county about the issues or problems that we must face, but this is a real solution, this is an opportunity. When we talk about economic development, it is this sort of building and the kind of programming that follows that makes it possible for us to grow the kind of workforce that will be needed for us to achieve, and invite, and entice the kind of economic development that we need for our county’s future,” said Charles County Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly.
“The state recognizes how well this region works together and how connected we are,” said Maryland Delegate Peter Murphy of the 75 percent funding CSM will receive from the state for the CE Building renovation. “[Cooperation among counties and CSM] makes a difference in Annapolis. People are much more willing to work with us when they see the connection we have, not only with the college but also with our commissioners to be able to make these [projects] come to pass.” Murphy said.
Providing a student’s perspective during the ceremony was Vincent Juarez, a 21-year veteran of the Marine Corps who attended in uniform as a way to honor veterans and first responders during CSM’s “Support the Heroes Campaign.”
“I have been fortunate to travel around the world and see first-hand a lot of the problems that other countries are dealing with, which is why I want to pursue my degree in elementary education to make a difference here with kids. I honestly believe that CSM has given me that foothold to do so,” Juarez said and specifically thanked CSM Mathematics Professor Stephanie McCaslin and CSM Academic Advisor Bill Rollins for their help and guidance as he works toward his associate’s degree.
CSM Vice President of CEWD Dr. Dan Mosser provided background on MCET which will move into the renovated CE Building. “Celebrating its 30th year, MCET has established a reputation for excellence in environmental, safety and health training, and compliance assistance. In 1968, the year this campus was built, Belva Jensen, the head of the college’s biology department, with a number of students undertook a 3,500-mile trek by water to retrace the Lewis and Clark expedition through the Northwest with the purpose to sample the once-pure waters and to develop an index of pollution. Belva’s conclusions helped prepare instructional material for the new curriculum in pollution abatement technology that was offered at CSM beginning in the fall of 1969. It seems fitting that today we mark the beginning of construction on a building that will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.”
The project architect is Grimm and Parker Architects and the general contractor is Dustin Construction. The project cost is $16 million with anticipated completion in early 2014.
Due to pre-construction and construction site work, foot traffic through parts of the inner campus and parking in adjoining lots may be rerouted. All walkways and buildings will remain handicapped accessible throughout the construction process.
Unlike traditional groundbreaking ceremonies, as the project involves removing a building that covers one-quarter of the size of the new project several officials gathered in a vacated room of the old building, took demolition mallets in-hand and broke through drywall to symbolically signal the beginning of the building’s extreme makeover.