FY 2008 Capital Budget

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Response to Department of Legislative Services Recommendation
FY 2008 Capital Budget

March 2007

UMBC is grateful that the Governor’s proposed capital budget for FY 2008 includes $3.625 million for design development of a Performing Arts and Humanities Facility. The proposed facility will provide space to meet the current and future curricular, research, and student-life needs of the UMBC community and will house the Departments of Theater, Music, Dance, Ancient Studies, English, and Philosophy, as well as the Shakespeare Association of America (which resides at UMBC) and our Center for the Humanities. (It is significant that the plans for the new facility proved instrumental in a recent half-million-dollar gift to name and expand the role of the Center for the Humanities.)

Intended primarily as a facility for teaching and research in the arts and humanities, the Performing Arts and Humanities Facility will play a large and essential role in our required general education curriculum. It is so central to our academic mission that virtually every undergraduate will use the facility’s classroom and spaces. Maryland employers often remind us how important it is that our graduates, whether in science and engineering or the liberal and fine arts, be able to think and communicate clearly – writing, speaking, problem-solving, and thinking critically and creatively. Our arts and humanities departments and programs provide such a foundation for all of our students, in the process educating well rounded citizens and strengthening Maryland’s workforce. In fact, we recently increased the writing requirements in our General Education Program (mandatory for all undergraduates), responding in part to industry’s needs for highly literate employees. These revisions to our General Education Program will make arts and humanities courses even more available and appealing to students in all fields, thereby increasing the demands on those departments that will be housed in the new facility. The facility also will be one of UMBC’s most public buildings, unique in southwest Baltimore County and the surrounding area, serving the needs of the Greater Baltimore community through performances and outreach activities. Indeed, the facility will be instrumental in creating a regional and national appreciation of UMBC as a cultural destination.

We also appreciate the fact that DLS’s recommendation to defer this funding to FY 2009 in no way suggests a lack of support for this important project, but rather reflects the challenges of trying to balance the State’s many capital priorities.

The DLS recommendation to defer funding would result in a significant delay midstream in the design process, which for good reason needs to proceed uninterrupted. We have already awarded $5.1 million for design development and preconstruction services. If funds are not available at the conclusion of the design development stage, we run the risk of losing architects and engineers from the design development team because individual team members would be reassigned to other projects, rather than be left idle. Upon receiving funds for the development of construction documents, the architectural/engineering (A/E) and construction management (CM) groups would be required to remobilize and reorient staff to the project. We are concerned that this lack of continuity would increase A/E and CM costs.

UMBC estimates that only $2.725 million would be required in FY 2008 to avoid a delay in the design process. The remaining $900,000 of the original $3.625 million requested in FY 2008 is for construction administration and could be deferred to FY 2009.

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