Towson's $184M Science Building To Begin Construction Next Year
Towson University will begin construction next summer on a $184M building to serve its growing student body, which is enrolling in more math, engineering and science courses.
With $161M coming from the state through 2020, it’s one of the largest higher education construction projects earmarked in Gov. Larry Hogan’s FY 2017 budget. When completed in 2020, the new 316k SF structure will be between the performance venue Stephens Hall and the aging, existing 52-year-old science building at 7800 York Road, Smith Hall.
Smith lacks adequate lab and classroom space to accommodate students studying science, technology, engineering and math, whose ranks have been growing since the last recession, as students view those majors as leading to better job prospects, Kris says. When Smith Hall was built in 1964, the university had 3,537 students. Today it has 3,800 graduate and undergraduate students majoring in STEM fields alone.
Its total student body population is growing as well. Towson expects to have 25,000 on-campus students by 2029, compared with 20,000 today, and requires that each student takes two science courses, regardless of major.
“We’ve grown substantially since the building was built, and we’re currently out of space,” Kris says. The university hopes that by adding 100k SF, it will speed up the time it takes students to complete their degrees.
The university will contribute $21M of its own cash and start a capital campaign to raise donations and naming rights to the building, Kris says.
Shown below is the performance venue, Stephens Hall.
The university plans to renovate Smith Hall to use as general classrooms and academic offices. The science building will have outdoor classrooms adjacent to Glen Arboretum (pictured), offering hands-on learning for environmental science and biology students. It will also contain a greenhouse and a planetarium with a telescope mounted on the roof.
The project was initially expected to be completed in 2019, but it was deferred for a year as the state looked to reduce its debt.
“We’re happy it’s back on track,” Kris says.
The university, originally built in Baltimore City, will celebrate its 150-year anniversary this year and 100 years in Towson.