UMBC has announced that beginning in early February, the university will begin constructing the Retriever Event Center, an advanced athletics venue and multi-use facility.
The new facility is intended to serve as an area of recruitment and retention of high-quality student athletes, host student life activities and programs, and build a new home for many of our academic and institutional events. It will also provide a welcoming experience for all campus visitors and will continue to strengthen UMBC’s support of the surrounding community.
The new 170,000 square-foot, $67 million space will host UMBC’s varsity teams and provide more room for campus and community events, like talks, concerts and high school graduation ceremonies. It will provide student athletes with access to upgraded training facilities, locker rooms and other amenities. Additionally, the building is designed to allow for the athletics department to function unaffected by large events taking place, with practice courts available for team use.
Furthermore, the school’s forested areas, which are used for environmental research and teaching, will not be affected by this construction.
As crews work to mark off the construction site in preparation for excavation over the next few weeks, several areas across campus will be impacted. Specifically, the first phase of preparation and construction will require the university to close Lot 28, located between the stadium complex and the future event center site, which will be converted to an access road for construction vehicles and equipment. Facilities Management has asked students and faculty to pay close attention to any pedestrian detours in and around the construction area.
Many students are wondering how long this project will take. Rusty Postlewate, the assistant vice president of facilities management, stated that construction is scheduled for about two years and occupancy is estimated to begin around 2018. He went on to say that since the project site is outside Hilltop Circle, adjacent to the Stadium Complex, “direct effects on the campus community should be minor, although there will be increased construction vehicle traffic on that side of campus.”
“Closure of Lot 28 and access to the Stadium Complex from that side is a significant change — access to the Stadium Complex will be primarily from Hilltop Circle, either through the tunnel near Commons Drive or down the stairs to the ticket booth,” said Postlewate.
Asma Azam, a freshman studying biology, said, “It’s exciting to see UMBC expanding in ways non-academically. I feel like it will really develop our school’s climate as a university. Also, the event center might give us a place to hold our own graduation ceremonies and that will be new and exciting.”
“Just to remind everyone that there may be periods of inconvenience due to the construction activity since this is a major project, but try to be patient as this new facility develops,” Postlewate said.