Regents OK new health sciences building as UMES' top need

  • Friday, June 19, 2015

     USM Regents OK new UMES health sciences building as priority one  

    Richard Yim and Tiffanie Taylor are pursuing a Pharm.D. degree at UMES

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (June 19, 2015) - Construction of a new pharmacy and health sciences building is now the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's top capital improvements project. 

    The University System of Maryland's governing board today approved a plan to spend $396.8 million on brick-and-mortar projects at the USM public universities starting a year from now.

    Included in that amount is a request for $5.7 million to fund planning for a structure housing UMES' School of Pharmacy and HealthProfessions. The plan calls for UMES to receive an additional $51 million in state funds over the next four years to build and equip the new building. 

    "We're grateful for the Board of Regents' support," UMES President Juliette B. Bell said. "We've made great strides since the regents gave us the go-ahead to offer a pharmacy degree, and having a new building will underscore the board's commitment to this important professional program."

    Instruction for pharmacy, which admitted its first class in 2010, and exercise science/ kinesiology, rehabilitation services, physical therapy and physician assistant studies currently takes place in some half-dozen buildings. 

    The national accrediting organization that evaluates UMES' pharmacy program recently signaled the university that it needs to demonstrate progress in getting students and faculty under one roof to maximize instructional efficiency as well as student-professor interaction.

    Bell went before a regents' finance-review committee a month ago seeking support to move a health sciences building atop UMES' priority list. Maintaining a fully-accredited UMES pharmacy school, Bell said, is critical to the university's mission of producing highly skilled health care professionals to meet local, state and national needs.

    Somerset Hall is home to UMES' pharmacy programThe Board of Regents' approved a capital improvement plan, which is a five-year projection of building-cost needs at institutions it oversees across the state.

    Replacing UMES' aging Frederick Douglass Library, built in the late 1960s, is also on that five-year plan, with planning for the new library funded in July 2019.

    Construction on UMES' aviation science and engineering building is winding down and is projected to be ready for occupancy and classroom instruction by early 2016.

    It will be UMES' first new classroom building in more than a decade and at 160,000 square-feet, the largest structure on campus.

    Bill Robinson, director, Office of Public Relations, (410) 621-2355