The $162 million biomedical sciences and engineering building planned by the Universities at Shady Grove will offer four new degree programs for students at the Rockville campus.
The new building will contain teaching laboratories, classrooms, clinical training facilities and academic offices. It will help address a growing enrollment at the university, which saw its student population grow 53 percent from 2008 to 2013.
The growing demand for scientific programs at the school resulted in a library being converted into laboratory space for the pharmacy program, while the nursing program has been limited because it currently shares its two laboratories with other health care programs. The new building is designed to address these needs as well as offer new learning opportunities for students, according to a legislative budget memo.
University leaders are scheduled to present the programming options for the new building to the Montgomery County Council’s education committee Monday. The conversation Monday is scheduled so county officials can discuss capital and operational aspects related to the campus expansion, according to a council memo. In a packet prepared for the presentation, university officials detailed the degree programs:
- Information science – The program is designed to give students without backgrounds in science or technology a pathway to working in the information technology or computer science fields. The program will teach students how to manage data.
- Engineering: Mixed signals and embedded systems – This program will teach students about the different “mixed signals”—the analog and digital electronic signals—that modern devices use. The program is aimed at preparing students to immediately be able to contribute as employees at hardware and software design companies. The university estimates there are approximately 9,200 private company jobs and 49,000 federal agency jobs in this field along the I-270 corridor in Montgomery County.
- Engineering: Mechatronics – Aiming to educate students in the fast-growing field of constructing unmanned vehicles and drones, this program combines elements of aerospace, mechanical and electronic engineering.
- Translational life science technology – This program aims to give students an overview of several scientific fields including biology and chemistry as well as computer science, math and physics. The goal is to respond to “the dual needs of improving human health and promoting economic development,” according to the packet.
The college also plans to transition its existing mechanical engineering and sustainable agriculture degree programs to the new building.
The new 220,000-square-foot academic complex is scheduled to start construction in 2016 and is expected to open in fall 2018. The state plans to fund the project with $6.2 million in 2016, $72 million in 2017, $68 million in 2018 and $14 million in 2019. The state has already funded approximately $9.3 million of the building’s pre-construction design and engineering costs, according to the capital budget summary.
Montgomery County contributed $20 million to a parking garage and new campus entrance designed to support the new building. The garage broke ground in March and is expected to be completed early next year.
The Universities at Shady Grove is a collaboration between nine Maryland universities, including the University of Maryland system, to offer upper-level and graduate degree programs and connect students with regional employers. Approximately 4,000 students attend the regional education center and about 75 percent of those students transfer from Montgomery College.