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State OKs money for new classroom building, campus expansion

  • Friday, April 12, 2013

    UMES acquires 365 acres of farm and woodlandsPRINCESS ANNE, MD - (April 12, 2013) - UMES' footprint in Somerset County now tops 1,100 acres.

    The university recently acquired a 365-acre farm and adjoining woodlands off Stewart Neck Road overlooking King's Creek south of Princess Anne. The previous owners were Scott Stark and Autumn Fenton of Newark, Md.

    The Maryland Board of Public Works OK'd the purchase using $1.55 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 1890 land-grant extension program.

    Dr. Ronnie Holden, UMES' vice president for administrative affairs, said the Stewart Neck Road property will be used for agriculture and natural science research.

    Meanwhile, Maryland lawmakers during their 2013 session approved an allocation of $22.7 million from the sale of revenue bonds as the first installment toward new classroom building for UMES. The construction schedule tentatively calls for the $91.5 million project to be completed in 2015.

    It will be the first classroom building built on the UMES campus since 2003.

    The university anticipates breaking ground later this year on the 163,350 square-foot technology center for aviation and computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and telecommunications instruction. Tanner Hall, where aviation science currently is headquartered, has 3,800 "net assignable square feet" of space.

    A structure off College Backbone Road that had been used for poultry science instruction will be torn down to make way for the new building.

    Over the past 10 years, the university built its food science building (2003) and a physical plant (2004) on the eastern edge of the campus, which for generations was home to field research and hands-on agriculture training.

    A 17-acre field near the campus water tower became the site two years ago for 7,800 solar-energy collection panels that help UMES reduce its electric bills.

    In addition to classrooms, labs and faculty offices, the new "Engineering and Aviation Science Building" would feature conference rooms, a library, media production facilities, a lounge and central computing services.

    Acquisition of the Stewart Neck property marks the first major expansion of the campus since 2006, when UMES opened a marine research center overlooking Assateague Island in Worcester County.

    Bill Robinson, director, UMES public relations, (410) 621-2355.