"Our experience has been the state has been very good about stepping in to provide operating funds," Beck said.
Beck said the Department of Legislative Services' concerns about Coppin's operating budget are being eased.
Neufville has made balancing the operating budget a top priority, he said, and the school is on its way to demonstrating to elected officials that it can be an efficient and effective steward of state funds. Coppin will do everything it can to reduce the burden its operating expenses bear on the state treasury, he said.
"Coppin will not be the same university it has been," Beck said. "This is a turning point in the university."
About $60 million was allocated in the 2014 state capital budget for equipment and to finish construction of the building. In the 2013 budget, $61 million was disbursed for acquisition of land — more than 200 properties were purchased to make way for the new building — and initial preparation of the roughly 12-acre site.
When complete, $80 million will have gone into the building itself, Patel said.
Dr. Samuel Ross, CEO of Bon Secours Baltimore Health System and a member of Coppin's Board of Visitors, said he sees the building as a way to improve student recruitment and faculty retention. But it also will help reduce a persistent racial gap in science, math and technology fields, he said.
"If we're committed to addressing disparities, it's important for places like Coppin to grow these students," Ross said. The building, he said, will "be part of a long-term commitment."
Coppin's Science and Technology Center
Cost: $80 million
Expected completion: January 2015
Location: South side of West North Avenue at Thomas Avenue
Space: 150,000-square-foot building will contain, among other spaces: 24 labs, a lecture hall, an open computer lab, two general classrooms, three computer lab classrooms, a nanotechnology research lab and a research greenhouse.
Use: Science (including biology, chemistry and physics), math and computer science departments will be housed there. The dentistry, pharmacy and medicine programs also will use the building.
Architect: Cannon Design
Environmental goal: On track for LEED Gold certification.