Salisbury University Reveals 10-Year Makeover - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury University Reveals 10-Year Makeover

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Guerrieri Academic Commons (Photo: SU) Guerrieri Academic Commons (Photo: SU)
Salisbury University (Photo: SU) Salisbury University (Photo: SU)
Sea Gull Stadium Exterior (Photo: SU) Sea Gull Stadium Exterior (Photo: SU)
SALISBURY, Md.- Salisbury University has created a 10-year facilities master plan to address campus needs for the upcoming years.

According to SU officials, this plan will cover the university's space needs, infrastructure, landscaping and it will even go as far as addressing traffic and safety conditions.

Eric Berkheimer, Salisbury University's Associate Vice President of Facilities and Capital Management, said the main priority is for a "built environment."

This plan is meant to underline the needs of the campus from a construction standpoint, as well as to use the plan as guidelines to go to the state and University System of Maryland Board of Regents, for requesting funding and capital funding, officials said.

"It's a framework that can be referred back to in order to prioritize needs," Berkheimer said.

Berkheimer says the plan will have two five-year phases.

The first phase will be years one through five which will focus on the main priorities. The second phases will be years six through 10 and if needed, a third phase will be used for any future planning beyond the 10 years.

In the first phase of building, officials say there will be changes in academic buildings and residence halls.

"Some of our buildings are 30-plus-years-old," Berkheimer said. "We have academic buildings that don't support current technology and there are changes in growth with different programs."

Officials also plan to update athletic facilities, free up sites around campus for future buildings and construct a performing arts center.

"Currently we have limited space on campus for performances," Berkheimer said. "Culturally, we want to be the hub for Delmarva."

SU officials say many buildings are outdated and undersized.

The Maggs Physical Activities Center on campus is used for academics, recreation and athletics. Officials say intramural sports are getting pushed out which shows there is a strong need there for additional space.

"This will take pressure off of Maggs," Berkheimer said. "Maggs does not have air conditioning throughout the building except in the gym and in the summer this can become a health concern."

Another priority SU officials say they have is generating the ability to relocate and renovate old residence houses and making room on campus to enable future projects to happen.

"There's a series of dominoes that need to happen for a number of these projects to move forward," Berkheimer said.

The Patricia R.Guerrieri Academic Commons is currently being built and it is a replacement for the library. It is a four-story structure with one whole story being completely dedicated for student achievement and a writing center.

"The focus is to bring campus together," Berkheimer said. "It will be the largest academic building on campus."

The new stadium on the east campus will enhance athletic viewing for football, lacrosse and field hockey, officials say. The stadium will have about 6,000 seats.

"The stadium will certainly be a facility to be proud of; it will underscore the fact that we have a successful athletic program as well as academics," Berkheimer said.

The university has been working with Ayers Saint Gross, Architects and Planners from Baltimore who are internationally renown for campus planning.

"I think we came up with a wonderful plan that includes forward thinking and is very feasible," Berkheimer said.

The university is working with other planning firms as well.

SU officials say they have very rough numbers with all the unknowns when it comes to the final cost of the makeover. However, Berkheimer says it is certainly in the hundreds of millions of dollars and easily half a billion dollars.

Officials say the funding is coming from a variety of sources.

"Our academic state supported projects come from the State Capital Improvement Program," Berkheimer said. "The non-state projects such as auxiliary buildings, athletics, student support and residence halls are funded through academic revenue bonds which we pay back over time as well as donors and third parties that come in and support these projects."

Berkheimer adds that this makeover is largely possible through donations from individuals.

A question that is asked time and time again is, "Will tuition rise?"

SU officials say tuition will inevitably rise over the next few years and there is a planned minor increase in tuition for next year, however, that decision is made at a state and Board of Regents level.

"Obviously affordability is critical in keeping folks here, and making what we think is a very good bang for your buck as far as higher education at Salisbury University," Berkheimer said.
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