AACC Expansion Plans Shift Into High Gear
By Darrell Mak
Yet another round of construction will be kicking off at Anne Arundel Community College to alleviate space constraints at the Arnold campus, as the schools enrollment numbers continue to swell. This year marks the 50th anniversary of AACCs inception and five of the primary buildings are original to the campus, which was built in 1967, while 13 buildings are now more than 30 years old.
Recently, the school completed its 2011 Facilities Master Plan, covering the time period from 2009 through 2019, which serves to evaluate the colleges existing and future physical resources. The latest plan proposes constructing five new buildings, an addition to an existing building, and a new 1,700-space parking structure on the Arnold campus.
All of these ideas are still on the table, confirmed Maury Chaput, AACCs executive director for Administrative Services.
Chaput explained funding for construction typically is split evenly between the state and county, and the state requires all projects to be identified in the master plan to qualify for state funding.
We have to be very aggressive with the plan, noted Chaput, who added, The plan does not obligate the school to fulfilling all the projects.
The next major construction project slated for the school, a $21.3 million renovation of the Andrew G. Truxal Library, named after the founding president of the school, will get started in late March. Plans for expanding the library call for adding computers, more seating areas, a lounge with a fireplace, comfortable chairs and a vending machine area. There will also be more windows and more shelves for books. The buildings restrooms and elevator will be updated and new and matching furniture will be ordered.
To promote the schools sustainability initiative, a green rooftop will be installed, and the building will make more use of energy-efficient and low-impact materials, including recycled products. The new building will feature an entire room designated as a silent area. Construction plans also call for adding another 31,330 square-foot addition to the existing 43,750 square-foot building.
According to Chaput, part of the library construction will include installing temporary modular spaces on some of the tennis courts. After construction is completed, the modular spaces will be removed and the courts will be resurfaced. Chaput dismissed rumors the school was planning to do away with the tennis courts.
Some courts will always remain, he assured.
Over recent years, the Arnold campus has undertaken several major enhancement projects including renovating the Careers Center, constructing the Central Services Building, renovating the athletic field, and adding parking spaces.
Preliminary numbers show a nearly four percent increase in student enrollment this spring compared to last spring. In fiscal 2010, enrollment stood at 24,750, leading to overcrowding in parking lots, seating areas, and the library, which first opened in 1967 when the college had about 1,430 students and slightly more than 18,000 books. Today, nearly 200,000 people come through the librarys doors each year.
A planned four-level parking garage will alleviate parking space issues that have plagued the school for years. The new garage would be built on Lot C on the east side of campus, which would resolve a 1,540 parking space shortage the Master Plan projects by 2019.
Other new buildings for the campus, as proposed in the Master Plan, include those for the Science Center, Allied Health and Engineering, Student Services, Education, Convocation Center, as well as an addition to the Central Services Building.