Agreement Signed to Construct USM Building at Southern Maryland Higher Education Center

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Adelphi, Md. (Nov. 1, 2013) - Leaders of the University System of Maryland (USM), Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (SMHEC) and Southern Maryland Navy Alliance (SMNA) today signed an agreement on terms for a new building at the SMHEC campus in California, Md. The agreement fulfills the requirements set forth by the Maryland General Assembly for $1.5 million in planning funds for the USM to plan a building for additional higher education programs, research, and incubator activities on the SMHEC campus. 

Currently, SMHEC's 24-acre facility comprises two buildings, built in 1994 and 2003. SMHEC hosts more than 90 graduate university degree programs and 13 bachelor degree programs, facilitated by 10 university partners in the greater Washington-Baltimore corridor (including several USM institutions).

A third building at SMHEC would address multiple higher education needs in the region. It would help to meet the need for additional classroom and laboratory space. Moreover, such a building would support the research and development needs of the nearby Patuxent River Naval Base complex by adding space to accommodate research and a business incubator.

The agreement was signed during a ceremony today at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, at the conclusion of a regularly scheduled meeting of the USM Board of Regents.

A USM team is working with a group from the SMHEC on terms of an agreement for the building. The document signed today meets the requirements of the Maryland General Assembly's Joint Chairmen's Budget Language and allows for the release of the $1.5 million in planning funds established during the 2013 Legislative Session.

"The USM is committed to delivering high quality, affordable and accessible higher education and spurring economic development throughout the state of Maryland, and this agreement is a critical step forward in enhancing our service to the citizens of Southern Maryland," said USM Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan.

"Since long before its incorporation in its present form in 1988, the University System of Maryland has been providing students from across the state with an education that is second to none," said Congressman Hoyer. "Our students graduate ready to compete for the best jobs and ready to be innovators and entrepreneurs. Today's agreement will bring more opportunities to Southern Maryland families and provide our students with the world-class education that the University System of Maryland provides. This partnership dovetails with many of the other initiatives we have undertaken to make Southern Maryland more competitive and attract the jobs and opportunities that sustain a strong middle class. I thank Dr. Brit Kirwan, Dr. Pat Florestano (USM Regent and chair of the Southern Maryland Higher Education Council), Joe Anderson (Southern Maryland Higher Education Board chair), Glen Ives (Southern Maryland Navy Alliance President), and Delegate John Bohanan for their work in reaching this agreement, and I will continue to work with them and all stakeholders to continue expanding access to higher education here in Southern Maryland."

The agreement amends the facility program for SMHEC approved in December 2011 by the Maryland Department of Budget and Management by providing for new and/or updated design, construction standards and energy and environmental considerations and introducing the latest technologies for the delivery of educational programs.

"Southern Maryland is such a vital economic region for our state. Enhancing the higher education resources in our area through the addition of this new building at SMHEC is critically important to our continued growth," Del. Bohanan said. "Each year, more of our economic development stems from higher education, and the University System of Maryland is a powerful economic engine."

SMHEC was established by state legislation in 1994 to provide on-site and complete access to quality graduate education degree programs in the region and to support the economic development of Southern Maryland. The campus is located six miles north of the Patuxent River Naval Base and close to roughly 250 technology companies in the Maryland municipalities of Lexington Park and California. More details about SMHEC can be found at

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719