Remembering the good times with Don Champion
By Olivia Obineme
Multimedia journalist | June 19, 2010
Many say (usually a year or two after graduation), “College is the best time of your life.”
And usually, those “best” times refer to the parties, the friends and the graduation.
Bill requires University to disclose construction projects
By Olivia Obineme
Published: Sunday, April 11, 2010
After some amendments, House Bill 348 now stands as law mandating Towson University to notify surrounding community neighbors of any construction occurring on campus.
The General Assembly was unanimous.
This bill also affects Salisbury University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and University of Maryland, College Park.
“We don’t feel it is necessary to legislate what any good neighbor should do,” assistant to the president for external relations and communications, Marina Cooper, said.
The bill came about due to many new developments on university campuses in the bill.
Cooper said the University already notifies communities of present and future plans of construction, as well as other University events.
“From fireworks to disaster drills, to construction projects to tree cleaning and landscape clean-up, we do our best to notify our neighbors with common boundaries –and when possible, work with them,” she said.
Prior to its amendments, the bill read, “… and generally relating to providing notice and consulting with communities before designing a new structure or substantially modifying the exterior of an existing structure regarding the new design or substantial exterior modification of structures at institutions of higher education.”
Kris Henry, editor of forgeflyer.com, a Web site for families in the Towson-North Baltimore area, lives with her family south of Dumbarton Rd., about half a mile from the construction of the new arena.
Though she lives far away from the construction, she said she has not been following this bill closely, but has noticed and blogged about those who have.
“At first they were thrilled that TU –and any other Maryland college would need to consult with surrounding communities before making modifications that could affect those communities, such as a new stadium right up against people’s back yards,” she said.
However, after the amendments, many of those once thrilled about the bill changed their minds.
“The amendments appear to water down what it is a college needs to do,” she said. “Instead of a university saying, ‘We’d like to put a 10-story building next to your house; let’s talk about that so we can see what you think and get your input before moving ahead,’ it seems this legislation says the University must simply say, ‘FYI, we’re putting a 10-story building next to your house –just wanted to let you know.’”
But to Rodgers Forge community vice president Lawrence Swoboda, just having strong communication from the University would benefit everyone.
“While there is no requirement to consult with communities, certainly having the University notify us can only help,” Swoboda said.
According to Swoboda, developer professionals, such as construction workers and engineers are already involved in University projects from the get-go.
“There are some of us who don’t understand what is going on in the projects. We don’t need to know the specific details, just need an understanding of what is happening, from the beginning,” he said.
Overall, Swoboda said he believes Towson is currently doing a good job with communication.
“In general, Towson University is a good neighbor. Could they be doing better? Of course –all of the communities have different concerns,” he said.
According to Cooper, West Village Commons and West Village housing Phase 2 is underway to add more on-campus housing.
Story: Courtesy of The Towerlight