Commitment to a strong system of permanent, dedicated open spaces is essential to the overall health of the university community. Ranging in scale from small gathering places and walkways to broad lawns, UMBC’s open spaces are the setting for campus life. Properly designed open spaces humanize the campus and make it a comfortable environment for outdoor interaction, study and contemplation.
The last five years has seen the creation of new athletics fields and vast improvements to existing open spaces on campus. The UMBC campus has witnessed extensive tree plantings, the reseeding of quadrangles and comprehensive pedestrian walkway improvements. In general, the physical aspect of the outdoor spaces and paths on campus have improved greatly since 2003. The adjoining figure illustrates the natural areas, recreational facilities, and open spaces on campus.
As UMBC has transformed from a commuter-oriented to a residential campus, the need for greater and more varied amount of recreation facilities on campus has become clear. The Retriever Activities Center and The Commons provide students with indoor facilities for recreation. Exterior recreational facilities are also important open space elements for both structured and unstructured activities. The University recently added a new multi-purpose sports field off of Hilltop Road and is planning for new outdoor volleyball and basketball courts to be constructed in the next few years to keep pace with student growth.
Outdoor Teaching and Research Environments
UMBC is fortunate to have numerous environmental areas on campus to support teaching and research. One such area is CERA, (Conservation and Environmental Research Areas), a designated 45 acre natural area established in 1997 and located to the south of the main campus. The woods, wetlands, streams, pond, and transitional landscapes of the CERA offer a wide range of research and teaching opportunities for the faculty and students. Recently, access has been improved to these areas with the construction of an elevated wooden boardwalk and bridge.