By Mary-Ellen Davis, News Editor
Photo by Mary-Ellen Davis/ The Towerlight
As the Towson University Fight song rang out in Uptown Towson Friday morning, University President Kim Schatzel and Doc the Tiger opened the doors to what will be Towson’s next project, Maryland National Guard Armory.
The university has partnered with the Towson Row developer, Greenberg Gibbons, to turn the space into an area dedicated to public and community engagement.
“We’re very excited to be delivering this adaptive reuse of this historical armory building,” said Greenberg Gibbons Chairman and CEO Brian Gibbons. “It’s really a community gym and were about to break up this community gym and bring it to life.”
The 21,000 square foot building will hold new areas for coworking, workforce training and business incubation, said Bobbie Laur, TU’s associate vice president for outreach within the division of strategic partnerships and applied research.
“The intention is there’s definitely going to be key departments and offices that come over from towson,” Laur said. “But this is all about public and community and business engagement.”
Though the University does not have a set completion date, Laur is hopeful that it will be done in about a year and says that design planning will begin in the coming weeks.
“We’re going to be as transparent as we can be about this entire project because it’s really about community engagement,” said Laur. “So we’ll be sharing as soon as we have information we can show people related to timelines and everything else.”
For Schatzel, however, the project takes on an even greater meaning since Towson is an anchor institution in greater Baltimore. She looks to transform the Armory into a hub for creative solutions that will impact the entirety of the region and state.
“This hub will spark and advance tu’s already significant work as a solutions catalyst for greater Baltimore, and house research coworking events and meeting space to support our community and business partners throughout the region,” said Schatzel.
According to Laur, Towson’s deep roots in teacher education says that the university is focused on meeting the needs of the region.
“We do that through the types of academic programs that we create, we do that through the research that our faculty are leading, and this space is really a physical space to help support all that,” Laur said.
In the mind of County Executive Johnny Olszewski, undertaking this project shows that Towson is stepping up as an anchor institution.
“Just three short years ago, Dr. Schatzel burst into the higher education scene here in Maryland and I’m grateful… to have such a strong partner as an anchor institution here in Baltimore county,” said Olszewski. “We have big plans for the years ahead, and today is one step in that direction.”