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January 28, 2002

UMBC Opens a New Center of Campus Life, The Commons

Baltimore, Md. – The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) celebrates the opening of The Commons, the university's new student center, with a week of activities kicking off with a ribbon cutting at 1 p.m. today, January 28, 2002. The $35 million, 148,000 square foot building is more than twice the size of the current University Center.

“The Commons is representative of the evolving needs of our student body,” says UMBC Vice President for Student Affairs, Charlie Fey. “Seventy percent of our first-year students and nearly forty percent of all undergraduates currently live on campus. The Commons is the place where these students, faculty and staff will come together as a community.”

UMBC's growth over the past ten years is evident in several areas. In 1991, only 1,850 students lived on campus, now the number is close to 3,200. In 1991, approximately 7 percent of UMBC students were from out-of-state, now the number is close to 20 percent. Total enrollment at UMBC has risen by nearly 1,000, from 10, 368 to 11,237 since 1991.

The three-story building features a two-story “Cabaret” room equipped to act as both a lounge and venue for live performances, a “Skylight” restaurant/reception area, a recreation room complete with games and a dance floor, and several other general meeting spaces. Student organizations have administrative and meeting space, as does the Office of Student Affairs. The building is also home to the UMBC Bookstore, convenience store and full-service Chevy Chase Bank branch. The building's “Main Street” provides seating for more than 300, with dining options ranging from pizza to chicken, Asian to deli.

Wireless networking makes connecting to the campus network and Internet easy in The Commons. Students can either check out a wireless laptop from our information desk and work anywhere in the building or bring their own and plug into one of the thousands of high-speed dataports located throughout The Commons.

The Maryland Stadium Authority acted as UMBC's agent for procuring, managing, and completing the project. Design Collective, Inc. (Baltimore, Md.) partnered with Perry Dean Rogers & Partners (Boston, Mass.) to provide programming and design services. Barton Marlow of Baltimore provided construction management.

About UMBC
Founded in 1966, UMBC is a medium-sized, selective, public research university situated on 500 acres between Baltimore, Md. and Washington, DC. UMBC has an enrollment of more than 11,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences and engineering. A campus community rich in cultural and ethnic diversity, UMBC promotes cutting-edge research and creative activity. The campus is home to the nationally-known Meyerhoff Scholarship Program, the Shriver Center, and a number of major research centers. UMBC is a member of the University System of Maryland and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

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Posted by dwinds1 at January 28, 2002 12:00 AM