By: Julia Fluke, Assistant Editor and
Grace Coughlan, Senior Editor
Towson University (TU) is in the midst of expanding their campus, building up-to-date facilities for different areas of study, while welcoming students to new, completed buildings.
The College of Health Professions (CHP) will be receiving a new building come summer of 2024. Many classes under CHP are taught all across campus, including Linthicum Hall, Van Bokkelen Hall, Burdick Hall, and Towson Center.
According to CHP Dean Lisa Plowfield, having one place for CHP students to go eliminates the separation from each other.
“The goal of this building is to bring together the majority of the college’s programs into a central location with state of the art facilities built specifically for the health professions,” Plowfield said.
CHP has been housed in older spaces built for different kinds of programs, but will now get a new building.
“We have needed to retrofit ourselves into spaces that do not easily accommodate our equipment and learning needs,” Plowfield said.
The new building features state of the art clinical simulation facilities which can function as professional healthcare environments.
“What this space should look like is a small hospital wing,” said Plowfield.
Plowfield explained that the new building will give them access to multiple laboratories. For nursing and physician assistant programs, there will be health assessment labs and nursing foundational skills labs. In addition the building will host two occupational therapy oriented labs, one specializing in pediatrics, the other in activities of daily life.
Sophomore Melanie Dobrovic is majoring in Healthcare Management and says she is excited for the addition.
“I think this update will allow the health profession students to get the high quality education that they deserve,” Dobrovic said.
TU’s Science Complex opened in Spring of 2021, but classes in the building were limited because of COVID-19 protocols. Students who did not take labs or took them remotely last semester will be able to use the new building this fall semester.
According to Professor Jay Nelson at FCSM, the new Science Complex is much needed as Smith Hall is starting to deteriorate.
“We’ve endured sewage leaks, lots of broken and decaying infrastructure and climate control is abysmal,” Nelson said. “The water will often run the consistency of chocolate milk with a tint of orange juice.”
The Science Complex includes 50 teaching laboratories, 30 research laboratories, 50 classrooms, eight lecture halls, 10 student spaces, an outdoor classroom, a rooftop greenhouse, planetarium, and observatory.
“For students, there are a lot more places to congregate and socialize or work,” Nelson said. “It certainly is more visually attractive than Smith.”
Sophomore Alexis Panagoulias is majoring in Biology and is looking forward to using the new complex.
“I am most excited about being in a new lab for my science classes such as chemistry and biology,” Panagoulias said. “The building itself is beautiful and has many new aspects to it to keep students engaged and further their interest in the subjects being taught.”
Panagoulias believes that TU students will benefit from the Science Complex.
“A student’s environment truly holds a big impact on how they learn,” Panagoulias said. “When being a new state of the art building, students have access to many opportunities to grow together and as individuals. The collaborative spaces allow students to come together to brainstorm and help each other and the research labs can lead to amazing studies and findings. Students are going to thrive here.”
TU has plans to renovate Smith Hall to accommodate the College of Fine Arts and Communication.
“We are excited to contemplate the move of three departments; Mass Comm, EMF and Comm Studies, into Smith Hall with a proposed move in date at or around pending funding – for the Fall of 2026,” Dean Regina Carlow said.
Smith Hall was built in 1965 and lacks the latest technology the college needs.
“Many of our buildings on campus weren’t built with infrastructure to support high tech demands,” Carlow said. “So, we need a space that will accommodate some of our higher tech requirements.”
Plans of renovation are still being contemplated but Carlow listed a general idea of needs the department is hoping for.
“Our wish list includes: Film and media content production space, Newsrooms, Audio production rooms, Screening facilities, A sound effects studio, Broadcast journalism studio,The Public Communications Center, Speech and Debate suite, TV Studio(s), Green screen studio and VR/Animation Space,” Carlow said.
Carlow explained her desire to have a place for the TU students and faculty to connect.
“I look forward to this renovated space becoming a collaborative place for not just COFAC faculty, staff, and students but an example of how a university puts its support behind innovation, creativity, and important career directions for students,” Carlow said.
The new College of Health Professions building, Science Complex, and Smith Hall renovations are just a few examples of what is anticipated on campus within the next 10 years. The University plans to release updates to their 10-year master plan this fall.
Watch the Union construction livestream here.