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.