Lawmakers greenlight new UMES health professions building

  • Thursday, April 25, 2019
    School of Pharmacy & Health Professions' new building; 1st phase

    Construction of a new academic building for UMES' School of Pharmacy and Health Professions is slated to begin this fall, triggered by a $10 million allocation from the 2019 Maryland General Assembly.  

    The project enables the university to consolidate its pharmacy programs into a single building and fulfill a long-standing goal tied to accreditation. Pharmacy classes, laboratories and faculty offices currently are spread among six buildings.  

    A three-story structure will be built on the east side of campus across the street from the Engineering and Aviation Science Complex on property where a sprawling greenhouse complex once stood. A November 2011 fire destroyed that structure, and demolition got underway shortly after the legislature approved the 2019-20 capital expenditures budget.  

    Lawmakers also committed to provide UMES additional money for the project when they return to Annapolis next year and in 2021, helping ensure that funding stays on track. The new building's projected price tag is nearly $90 million, which includes planning and equipment.  

    Gov. Larry Hogan threw his support behind a request from UMES in 2016 for $3.5 million to get preliminary planning started. A year later, the university received another $3 million to keep the project on schedule for projected completion by the fall 2021.  

    “We are thankful for the support we have received from Governor Hogan, our Eastern Shore legislators, the Department of Budget and Management, and the University System of Maryland for our new building,” said acting Provost Rondall E. Allen, who spearheaded the years-long lobbying effort.  

    “This first phase creates 65,000 square feet for the School of Pharmacy that enhances our ability to deliver quality graduate education,” Allen said. “This new building also includes some shared spaces for the other (health science) departments, such as a kinesiology research lab, a rehabilitation services home-health laboratory as well as a (clinical-setting) simulation center for pharmacy, physical therapy and physician assistant instruction.”  

    UMES also is moving ahead with an application it hopes will lead to the 2020 fall semester reinstatement of the physician assistant graduate program, a goal of new UMES President Heidi M. Anderson.  

    Long-term, UMES is working to secure more state funding for a 65,000 square-foot expansion to double the size of the new building so other health profession academic units - kinesiology, physical therapy, rehabilitation and physician assistant programs - can be housed together.

    UMES enrolled its first Doctor of Pharmacy class in August 2010 and since May 2013 has produced 344 graduates who completed classes and off-campus clinical rotations in a year-round format to earn a degree in three years instead of the usual four. The university subsequently has added graduate-level degree programs in pharmaceutical sciences.