What is now a parking lot at Howard Community College will soon be the location of a $76.7 million science, engineering, and technology building offering students in these fields a state-of-the-art facility to advance their studies.
Howard Community College will begin construction in December on the Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) Building that will include a cybersecurity lab, engineering build room, 3D printing lab, greenhouse and rooftop observation area among other features.
The SET Building is expected to be completed by December 2016 and open to students by summer 2017. It will be located adjacent to the Health Sciences Building and Rouse Community Foundation Student Services Hall.
About 100 college officials, local and state legislators, and students celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking for the facility Friday.
"With the increase in demand for well trained STEM professionals, this building will ensure that students leave our doors prepared, not only for jobs of today, but also for those of tomorrow," said Skip Coale, Chair of the Howard Community College Board of Trustees.
In a news release, the community college said continued demand for science, engineering and technology professionals along with current space insufficient for classrooms, laboratories, offices and student support areas made this new building a necessity.
The four-story, 145,300 square-foot building will feature flexible classroom space, laboratories and an outdoor classroom for students studying science, engineering, health, cybersecurity and other program studies.
"Every single space will inspire learning," HCC President Kate Hetherington said. "But the building is only a building, it must be filled with faculty and staff who will encourage and engage students along their pathway to success."
About $26 million of the expected project costs have been funded by the county and state, but $50 million more will be needed in coming years. The project is expected to be financed 50 percent by the county and 50 percent by the state.
"There is no real better investment in Howard County for our dollars than the community college because it touches every aspect of our society and helps people be trained and ready for the workforce," Howard County Council Vice Chair Courtney Watson said.
Gilbane Building Company, located in Laurel, has been chosen to construct the SET building.
County Executive-elect Allan Kittleman pledged support to the community college and this project specifically when he begins his tenure as Howard County executive Dec. 1.
"There's no question this is a gem of Howard County," Kittleman said of the community college, adding that his daughter graduated from the college last year.
For more information on the project, visit howardcc.edu/setbuilding.