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Howard Community College nets $9.8M to complete renovation of two buildings on Columbia campus

The Baltimore Sun

Howard Community College received a state grant of $9.8 million last week through the Maryland Board of Public Works as part of an overall $18 million package for projects at five higher education institutions across Maryland.

Officials at the college say the money will go toward the final stages of renovations at two buildings — the former Nursing Building, built in 1976, and the Science and Technology Building, constructed in 1989.

Elizabeth Homan, spokeswoman for the college, said the projects have cost of $43.4 million overall — $22.3 million from the county and $21 million from the state. The projects began in September 2014 and were phased over several years. The grant funding is for the final aspects including furniture and equipment costs. Completion is expected next summer.

Homan said the academic programs that used to be in the nursing and science buildings were moved a few years ago when the college opened its new Science, Engineering and Technology Building. Some programs also moved to the campus’ Health Sciences Building.

The older buildings “were still being used, but they had space such as labs — and didn’t need that kind of space any more” once the programs were moved, Homan said. “It gave us the opportunity to think about ways to better use that space.”

The renovated buildings have new names and new missions. The former science building has become the Academic Commons, housing student life offices and facilities, the Social Sciences and Teacher Education Division and also expanded space for culinary and hospitality programs.

The nursing building is now Howard Hall, with has offices and classrooms, and also space for the HCC honors program, the Silas Craft Collegians leadership program and Howard PRIDE, a program for black male leadership development.

Homan said the renovations are part of the campus’ five-year capital improvements program and 10-year facilities master plan. The next capital projects on the horizon for HCC is a math and athletics complex slated for the next several years at an estimated cost of $79 million.

Homan noted that the college saw significant growth during the recession, and said the capital projects are needed not only to address student growth, but also changes in academic needs.

Howard Community College expects its growth to continue. Student headcount at the college was 29,169 in fiscal year 2017, and is expected to grow to 34,186 by 2022, and 38,476 by 2027, according to projections by the college and the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

According to the college’s 2019 capital budget, that 10-year enrollment projection is higher than the statewide growth average for both credit and noncredit enrollment.

Howard Community College received the lions’ share of the $18 million approved by the Board of Public Works last week. Other allocations went to the Community College of Baltimore County, about $7 million; the College of Southern Maryland at Indian Head, $275,000; Frederick Community College, $224,000; and Garrett College in McHenry, $685,000.

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