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Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building Coming to Fruition

Fine Arts to Be Renovated, Global Studies and Culture Building to Be Constructed

A new facility, the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (ILS) Building will be constructed from Spring ’17 to Spring ’19, it will take the place of the current Academic Services Building across from the Commons. The large ILS Building will serve a number of departments from a variety of STEM fields.

The Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (ILS) Building is expected to begin construction in the spring of 2017 and will be placed across from the Commons, where the Academic Services building is currently standing.

In a community-wide email regarding the campus budget update sent on Feb. 6, President Freeman Hrabowski III mentioned that $6 million in state funding had been directed towards the ILS building’s construction.

Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management, Rusty Postlewate, stated that the ILS Building, “would contain a vivarium to consolidate the multiple animal facilities currently on campus into one modern, updated facility.”

According to the 2009 UMBC Facilities Master Plan Update, the ILS Building will be approximately 123,000 gross square feet with an “enhanced key campus plaza” and a multitude of “labs, offices and support spaces.”

However, Postlewate said that the concept of the ILS Building is that it would be a “place where interdisciplinary teams would come to work together on a particular project/problem, and upon completion/resolution of the work, the departments will return to their departments based elsewhere.”

The ILS Building will not have any current or new departments based in the facility, “although a group of animal researchers would be housed in the building to be in close proximity to the vivarium.” Postlewate went on to say that the ILS Building will provide “core research facilities including: Bioprocess and Cell Science Lab for growth and harvest of bacteria, fungus, yeast or algae cells to support research and a Biodiversity and Sustainability Lab to support environmental research and freshwater aquatic ecosystems.”

The total cost of the facility is expected to be around $123 million, according to the Baltimore Business Journal, and will take approximately two years to finish. During those two years, “the surrounding areas will obviously be affected … [and] necessary pedestrian and vehicular access will be maintained,” said Postlewate.

In regards to the ILS Building interacting with the local environment, Postlewate stated that the facility will be “designed and constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver Standards.” A LEED Silver Certification entails a “myriad of energy and environmental attributes to be incorporated into [the ILS Building] to allow it to be ‘environmentally friendly,’” said Postlewate.

The LEED Silver Certification of the new ILS Building would potentially be the third LEED Silver Certified building on UMBC Campus, following a trend of environmentally sustainable certified facilities at UMBC.

UMBC’s first LEED Silver building was the new addition to Patapsco Residence Hall, opened in the fall of 2011, and the second was the recently-opened Performing Arts and Humanities Building.

In addition, the Fine Arts Building is currently undergoing renovation in parts of the facility in order to better accommodate new occupants, and Postlewate said that “those portions of the building will be in good condition when work is completed in January 2016.”

A 33,000 gross square foot addition is planned to be constructed, which would be christened the Global Studies and Culture Building, resulting in a renovation of the remainder of the facility.

Presumably, the Global Studies department, which is currently housed in the Public Policy Building, will be housed in this facility. The Master Plan Update also states that a new entrance for this facility would be created, “oriented to the new Performing Arts and Humanities Building and the campus beyond.”