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Behind the scenes: Osler Bridge

Osler bridge with staff

The 120-foot long, 22-foot wide Osler Bridge opened last Friday to provide safe passage for more than 3,500 students, employees and visitors traveling between the main campus and West Village every day. Below, project Manager Jonathan Lindhorst gave us some behind the scenes stats on what it took to build the bridge, which is heavier than the Statue of Liberty! 

  • An average of 45—and sometimes up to 70—construction staff worked six days a week for 15 months to build the bridge. The man hours spent constructing the bridge are equivalent to the credit hours required to earn 67 bachelor’s degrees.
  • Two steel beams which each weigh as much as a tractor-trailer provide the main support for the bridge. In the photo above, you can see one of the tan beams surrounded by the Towson University lettering. It doesn’t look too big in the photo, but that beam is six feet wide! The average person could stand inside its edges.
  • Nearly an acre of pavers make up the surface of the bridge and the walkways on either side of it. That’s more than three times the size of the average home lot in our area.
  • If you stood next to the bridge’s Towson University lettering, it would come up to your waist. Each letter is three feet high, or more than half the height of the average male in the U.S.

Huge thanks to Jonathan (pictured above with Electrical Trades Chief Joseph Laumann, who helped to make the bridge a reality) and to everyone who worked on the project. See a video of the bridge’s grand opening celebration here.

By Pamela Gorsuch

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Sneak peek inside TU in Northeastern Maryland

Towson University in Northeastern Maryland (TUNE) will kick off student orientations next week, marking the completion of a project more than eight years in the making. Below, we got a sneak peek inside the new building before its doors open to the public:

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By Pamela Gorsuch

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What 13 A&F employees are working on right now

Spring is here and A&F is hard at work on some major projects. From developing a robust mobile app to giving a voice to victims of crime, click through the slideshow below to see what 13 of your A&F colleagues are working on right now. Descriptions are typed out below for anyone having trouble reading the signs.

A big thank you to the staff members who let us take their photos and to those who helped coordinate the photo shoots!

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In order of the slideshow:

MaryAnn Davenport, Management Advisory and Compliance Services: “Working with external auditors on various audits. Conducting reviews to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance”
Brian Raley, OTS Instructional Services: “Coordinating the design and installation of classroom technology in TU’s Northeastern MD building”
Larry Holbrook, Donna Auvil, Sherry McKendry, Kelly Crispo, Nick Gingue, Paul Thomas, Jerri Sumwalt, various departments: “Planning and coordinating the Employee Appreciation Picnic”
Lisa Taylor, Construction Services: “Renovations to Burdick Hall”
Phillipa McQueen, James Andrew, and Jeff Russell, Parking and Transportation Services: “Reaching Our Goal of 95% On-Time Service”
Debbie Reid, Glen Dining Hall: “Preparing for Nutrition Month at the Glen”
Zeeshan Aslam and Steve Kettinger, OTS Information Systems, “MY TU Mobile Student & Faculty/Staff Self Service Mobile Application”
Frank Hubbard Butler, Office of Public Safety: “Building the campus-wide Chemical Inventory Database”
Robert Rankin, Event and Conference Services: “Prepping SECU Arena for yet another event in an ever expanding schedule!”
Corporal Kia Williams, TU Police Department: “Preparing for National Victims’ Rights Week”
Michael Scribner and Julie Leary, OTS Client Services: “Repurposing decommissioned lab & classroom computers on campus for those in need”
Kerry Spence, Facilities Planning: “Refurnishing the Kinesiology Department in Burdick Hall”
Michael Noll, Office of Human Resources: “Effective Supervision Program – Consistent theory and application training for TU Supervisors”


What’s your big project this spring? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Photos and article by Lindsey Morgan

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Osler bridge: a timeline of progress

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The creation of the pedestrian walkway above Osler Drive took a great step forward this month as workers installed the main steel components of the structure. In less than a week, the project went from being two disconnected foundations to a full-fledged bridge—thanks to the round-the-clock efforts of contractors and Facilities Management staff taking advantage of the Osler Drive closure during spring break.

While traffic impacts aren’t over yet, Construction Services Director Scott Guckert says the main inconveniences are behind us.

“There will be intermittent lane closures as the project goes on but we don’t anticipate needing to close the entire road again,” Scott said.

The bridge is part of phase two of the Campus Site & Safety Project. In addition to the creation of the bridge, the project will also restore the Towsontown stream and construct a pedestrian walkway from Linthicum Hall (near the beach) along Cook Library to Newell Hall. The project is scheduled to be complete this September. For more information on the project, go to the Current Construction website.

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Tour the new Health & Counseling Centers

A large conference room is available for use by staff in both clinics.

This gallery contains 19 photos.

Following less than a year of construction and renovation, the former Ward and West residence halls have been transformed into a new combined building for TU’s Health & Counseling Centers. The slideshow below takes you on a tour of the new space:

Personnel Announcement

Wondering what’s going on in the division? Look no further—upcoming events, announcements and birthdays are listed below. If you’d like to contribute an item to the personnel announcement, e-mail

Did You Know

Facilities Management received 31,808 work orders from January to November 2013. See other fascinating facts about the division in our newly-released Annual Report.

2013 Annual Report CoverAnnouncements

A&F’s 2013 Annual Report, “Partnerships with Purpose,” covers key divisional projects & accomplishments from the past year. All staff members will receive a copy through their AVP and are encouraged to review the report closely. The report is available online here.

TU is one of the first institutions to prototype a solar-powered table that can charge laptops, tablets and mobile devices using power from a solar “umbrella”. The charging table is available for use on the University Union patio outside the Potomac Lounge.


A grand opening celebration is being planned for the new Health & Counseling Centers, which opened earlier this month. Stay tuned to T3 for updates on the time and date.


February 2 – Sheila Tilghman, Auxiliary Services
February 2 –Renee Norman, Facilities
February 4 – Fran Kateley, Auxiliary Services
February 5 – Ray Brewer, Facilities
February 6 – Joseph Byer, Facilities
February 7 – Paul Andrews, OTS
February 7 – George Campbell, Facilities
February 7 – Al Lagos, Fiscal Planning & Services
February 9 – Cheryl Harris, HR
February 9 – Pauletta Riley, Facilities
February 11- Andre Passas, Facilities Management
February 11 – Al Robinson, Facilities Management
February 13 – Ray Ingman, Facilities Management
February 13 – Toni Serruto, Fiscal Planning & Services
February 13 – Deb Simon, OTS
February 13 – Brenda Yarema, OTS
February 15 – Karen Minor, OTS
February 17 – Jerome Chandler, OTS
February 17 – Frank Fralinger, Facilities
February 18 –Mary Weir, Fiscal Planning & Services
February 19 – Paul Parrish, Public Safety
February 21 – Dave Turner, Facilities
February 26 – Tom Garrison, OTS
February 26 – Matt Wynd, OTS
February 26 – Robin Boord, Auxiliary Services
February 27 –Shawn Mahonski, Facilities
February 28 – Barbara Vollmer, Fiscal Planning & Services


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Walking Towards a Better Tomorrow

by Tyler New

by Tyler New

I have many interests, but wasting time and being late to class are not among them. Despite the fact that my interests lie elsewhere, I always seem to waste time when I cross Osler Drive. I wait for permission to cross the road with a bevy of impatient Towson students, some of whom are brazen enough to run across during lulls in traffic. My goodness, I think to myself while waiting, if only there wasn’t so much traffic, and only if there was a bridge over this road!

Well, it almost appears as if Towson’s powers above read my mind! A pedestrian bridge over Osler Drive should be ready by the start of the 2014 fall term.  The 23 foot wide, 120 foot long bridge will provide safe crossing for over 3,000 students, in addition to faculty, staff and visitors. I am personally grateful, as one of these 3,000 students, that both my time will be saved and my health will not be at risk—the chances of playing Frogger on Osler Drive are now slim to none. I am also grateful that my fellow Tigers will not engage in such activities, seeing as over 11,000 pedestrian trips are taken across Osler per day.

But this bridge is not an outstanding project on its own; Phase II of Campus Site, Infrastructure and Safety Improvements includes two other major projects.

I wrote several months ago about A&F’s intention to renovate Smith Hall, focusing on the particulars of the project: its environmental friendliness, the size of its expansion and the funding required. What I did not discuss was the effect this expansion would have on pedestrian traffic.

Likewise, I can now discuss the particulars of the plan to build a new rec field to the right of the new Osler bridge, but this project, too, is only a piece to the master plan. The important variable now is pedestrian flow around campus. TU’s campus is constantly changing, and it is important that members of its community be able to walk around safely.

This safety does not only mean eliminating cars from the equation; it means avoiding pedestrian crowding as well. An article in The Economist notes the importance of avoiding congestion: “the trick is to ensure that serious crowding is avoided in the first place. From big events such as the London Olympics to the design of new railway stations, engineering firms now routinely simulate the movement of people to try to spot areas where crowding is likely to occur…There should be many fewer crowd disasters given what we now know and can simulate.”

Bearing this importance in mind, TU is not only constructing a new bridge; it is also building a pedestrian walkway from the southeastern end of Linthicum Hall east along Cook Library to Newell Hall. This construction involves the demolition of the concrete bridge between Newell Dining Hall and Cook Library and necessary storm water management improvements.

As an English major, I tend to look for symbolism everywhere I go and with everything I encounter. That being said, I feel that Towson University’s physical improvements and planning represent its members’ dedication to the school slogan; TU employees aim to “Restore the Roar” while “Thinking Outside.”  Not only are fine, eco-friendly buildings built, but smaller amenities also supplement them.

Towson has taken yet another step towards a brighter tomorrow, and I am proud to walk as a Tiger—especially when it involves not playing real-life Frogger.

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Newell Hall Renovations Sure to Impress

by Eric VanLieshout

by Eric VanLieshout

Towson is one building closer to completing the 2016 Master Plan. It is always encouraging to cross objectives off of long lists, and certainly finishing a construction project is cause for celebration.

Newell Hall is one of the oldest buildings on the Towson University campus and is approaching its centennial anniversary. Built in 1914 and named after the Towson’s first principal, Newell Hall was the first residence hall on campus. Towson has invested $20 million in preserving the historic Newell and Richmond Halls. This project is not just about combating the effects of aging, but also about making the building efficient and equipping it with modern technology and accommodations.

On Wednesday, January 23, the reopening of Newell Hall was marked by a ribbon cutting ceremony and tours. Dr. Deb Moriarty, President Loeschke and Jerry Dieringer all gave brief speeches at the ceremony commending a job well done. Next, students led tours showing both the modern amenities and the preservation of the building’s historical features.

The renovation updated the building’s discreet Wi-Fi nodes, added room sensors that turn the heating or AC on or off in accordance with the room’s occupancy, added better cable and Ethernet outlets and installed new kitchens. The security system also received an overhaul, complete with hidden security cameras at the entrance.

A cozy lounge

A cozy lounge for studying or socializing

The rich history of the building, well preserved in the renovation, really makes the residence hall feel inviting. The common areas and lounges are small and intimate, often separated from the hallways by glass walls. The original fireplaces serve as the focal points in a number of lounges that are lit by calm lighting or large, elegant windows. Although these fireplaces are sealed and non-functioning for safety reasons, students will undoubtedly find creative ways to decorate and enjoy them.

The ultimate focus, however, is the students’ rooms. These spacious and fully stocked suits have new carpet, furniture, microwaves, refrigerators and windows that open (not all of the university’s residence halls have this feature in the interest of safety). Furthermore, no two rooms are exactly alike, which grant each room a special and unique quality. The Newell Hall renovation is but another example of Towson University’s commitment to better education and a better college experience.

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OTS Team Steps Out

By Samantha Knight

By Samantha Knight

The OTS Information Technology Support Centers Team (OTS Training, Web Team, CIAT, Multimedia Services, Instructional Design, and Blackboard groups) has made an effort to step out of the office and become more familiar with the people and places around Towson University.  Recently, we were fortunate to visit two different sites in one week.

The week started with a tour of the redesigned television studio located in the Media Center.  The studio is used for Electronic Media and Film classes, as well as for production of shows.  David Reiss, associate professor in the Electronic Media and Film Department and technical coordinator of, explained the updated control room and was able to demonstrate to us the virtual sets that are now available.  Some of us tried out the set while others stayed back in the control room to see the magic happen.  It was very exciting, especially for all the video people on our team! 2012-11-16 15.38.49

Later in the week, we had a private tour with Mike Harris from Athletics around the new Tiger Arena.  We took an hour out of the day and ventured over to the new building to see the seats being installed, walls being built, and many other projects that were going on during that time.  Mike explained where they were in the timeline and what will be built over the next few months. We’re very excited to go back at the beginning of May to see the finished product!

2012-11-16 15.52.08

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Construction Aids Campus Mission

by Tyler New

The average college campus is about 440 acres; Towson University’s (TU) campus is 328 acres.  TU is the second largest university in Maryland with an undergraduate student body of 17,529.  Bearing in mind this size discrepancy, Towson must be judicious in its allocation of academic space.

The College of Health Professions (CHP) is facing a dilemma that is not surprising given the campus conditions: there is not enough room for the growing student population.  There has been an increasing number of health students in recent years: health professionals student headcount has increased by 50 percent, Full-Time Daily Equivalent students have increased by 39 percent and the number of Full-Time Equivalent faculty has increased by 38 percent.  These numbers are expected to further increase in the next 10 years.  Though the need for space is acute in other areas of the university, the demand is particularly pronounced in the CHP.  Through the CHP, TU graduates the second largest number of licensed nurses and the largest number of allied health professionals in the State.  Thus, attention must be given first and foremost to the CHP.

Corroborating these growth figures, the CHP experiences space deficiencies in every applicable Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS) category.  Especially problematic and in the most immediate need of expansion are the lecture and laboratory classrooms. These areas are not sufficient for accommodating new technologies that are important to current teaching methodologies or for accommodating an adequate number of students.

In order to remedy the situation, a new facility will be built and will consolidate the programs and functions currently dispersed throughout the College’s six buildings.  Teaching areas will be upgraded as “smart classrooms.”  The new facility will benefit more than just the CHP; related programs will be consolidated and therefore will free space for change in other colleges. Notable sections that will gain more space include the nursing, occupational therapy, speech and hearing, and graduate degree programs.  Progress has already been made with this issue utilizing the newly upgraded Linthicum Hall (LH), which is now equipped to accommodate the CHP.  In addition to new labs, LH currently has 15 classrooms that will better assist the students with their work.

Planning for the new construction is to start in 2017 and ground will be broken in 2019.  Upon its completion in 2023, the project will have cost the university $140,960,000.  The money will be well-spent, as the new building will improve both the efficiency of space use on campus and the quality of the in-class learning experience. 

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