An exciting event took place at Bowie State University (BSU) on Monday, May 11, 2015. A morning groundbreaking ceremony marked the anticipated end of using the Crawford Science Building, which was constructed in the 1960s. University president Mickey L. Burnim delivered remarks celebrating the start of the construction of a state of the art Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing. The construction site of the new 148,995-square-foot building will fill the space where the demolished Wiseman Student Center was once situated.
Slated to open in 2017, the modern educational facility will house three academic departments—Natural Science, Mathematics and Nursing— offering an optimal environment for learning and collaboration. Burnim explained the forthcoming building will help to produce highly skilled graduates prepared to work or teach in the three aforementioned fields. Future students can look forward to conveniences like glass-walled laboratories, 3D printer rooms, 14 teaching labs and 15 classrooms.
“This is a very special day in the life of Bowie State University, and it’s an extra special day for me, because it represents my second opportunity to officially break ground for a new academic building, and not just any academic facility” Burnim said.
He spoke about the significance of the new building’s science and math focus and how they are crucial to student’s success in today’s economy. “Any university that was about the business of preparing its graduates for leadership positions in the world had to be an organization that was focusing on the preparation of students in STEM, as well as the Arts and the Humanities,” he said.
Burnim acknowledged Gov. Larry Hogan and his administration’s support of the project. Hogan reportedly visited BSU’s campus a few months prior to view the current science building and discuss plans for the new facility. Nearly $40 million was reportedly included in Gov. Hogan’s capital budget to make the needed improvement at BSU, when he made the visit. Hogan was not in attendance during BSU’s May 11 groundbreaking ceremony. However, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford offered remarks.
“It is great to see the expansion of the school. This project is something that is key to economic and workforce development for the state. It is a key area for us and where the state of Maryland can distance itself from some of our competitors.” Lt. Gov. Rutherford said. “On behalf of the entire administration, we appreciate what the president (Burnim) is doing and all of the Bowie State staff.”
Leadership at BSU and supporters expect that the university will be better positioned to attract and retain qualified faculty in STEM fields and recruit more interested students. Dr. Patricia Pierce Ramsey, Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences, agrees that the new building will help to offer an improved learning and teaching environment.
“This is going to give an outstanding benefit to our students here at Bowie State University and our faculty, because right now we don’t have the facility to be able to provide the quality of education that we would like to provide our students, because the (Crawford Science) building is very old. It does not provide [a] facility that we need in order for us to have world-class programs, and so it is going to be great,” Ramsey said.