Scenic Pond or Stagnant Puddle?

The pond next to the Albin O. Kuhn Library has faced several delays in construction, prompting concern from students and faculty alike

Manisha Vepa

Contributing Writer

mvepa1@umbc.edu

In the words of Freshman Trevor Pitts, a biology and psychology major, the Performing Arts Building is “beautiful.”  While the building may have been finished, the construction of the pond near the library has gone stagnant. The pond was expected to be finished during the upcoming winter break, however after the site was cleared and a fence erected, there has been no further construction.

The pond was part of the original construction plans for the new Performing Arts Building. It was intended to filter stormwater runoff from the new building so as to improve the quality of water flowing from the campus to the Bay, According to the Vice President of Facilities Management, Rusty Postlewate.

The pre-construction steps are the reason for the current delay. As per state law, all organizations must obtain a permit for any construction project that disturbs over 5000 square feet of land. Last year, the University applied for a permit with the expectation that it would be approved at the end of the break.

At that point, they started to prepare for the draining and dredging of the pond. In January, however, they learned that the pond was classified as a dam. Thus, the pond would have to meet the specified requirements set forth by the Maryland Dam Safety Division. The University was forced to abandon the permit, and focus on adapting the current design to meet these specifications.

This summer, the University re-submitted updated blueprints for the pond, and received approval from the Maryland Dam Safety Division to continue with the project. Now, they can finally re-apply for a state permit to begin construction and resume construction in the Winter.

The pond project is not the only delayed construction project.  The construction of parking lots over the summer continued into the start of the school year. While the future of the pond looks promising, these delays raise questions about how construction projects are handled on campus.

According to Joshua Massey, a sophomore computer engineering major and a member of the UMBC Senate, “construction projects generally start late and then do not move fast enough. The parking construction over this summer started late, and then the campus entrance will not be finished for another 2 years. It just affects the aesthetics of the campus.”

Besides the effects on campus, Massey also believes that the construction affects the students as well. “The students do not know what is going on, and there is a disconnect between students and administration.” This year in Senate, Massey and other members plan to try and bridge this gap in communication.

Regardless of the delays, students are excited for the pond. Raymond Bascal, a Freshman biology and political science major, believes that “the pond will give the campus a more natural feel, and the seating area will be a great place to hang out and relax with friends.”