Montgomery College Expands in Life Sciences Field

GERMANTOWN, Md. — When Montgomery College students come back to the Germantown campus this fall, a new 140,000-square-foot Bioscience Education Center will be waiting for them. as part of a plan to advance the Montgomery County area in the technology and life science industries. The $87.9 million project was supported by the state of Maryland and Montgomery County as part of their goals to advance the area in the technology and life sciences industries.

“The Germantown Bioscience Education Center is a significant component in advancing the state and county’s economic development goals, to further the growth in the technology and life sciences industry,” said Maryland Senator Nancy J. King in a statement. “State funding on this project demonstrates our commitment to ensuring Maryland’s position as a global player in the biosciences.”

Arlington, Va.-based The Lukmire Partnership served as the architect on the project, and Bethesda, Md.-headquartered Clark Construction started construction on the center in March 2011.

The Bioscience Education Center is modeled after a commercial lab, giving students the opportunities to learn real-world techniques while experimenting at the center. Courses that will be offered in the building include biology, biotechnology, chemistry, ecology, genetics and landscape technology. The building will feature classrooms, laboratories, administrative offices and a conference center. Plus, it will house group study rooms, a computer lab and a detached greenhouse. Among the other features is a robotics suite for cell culture, media preparation and protein purification.

The building has a structural steel frame supporting composite metal decks and is wrapped in a high-performance masonry, aluminum panel and curtain wall façade, according to Clark Construction. The scope of work also included completing the campus’ new southern entrance and building new roads to improve traffic flow.

The Bioscience Education Center was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification for its sustainable features, which include solar photovoltaic panels, a green roof system, wind turbines, high-efficiency building systems and water-saving plumbing fixtures. More than 70 acres of forest and a stream valley buffer will be preserved as a part of the campus.

“This Bioscience Education Center will bolster our region’s reputation as a hub for biotechnology and innovation. By offering a world-class environment to educate and retrain the bioscience workforce, the Center will help keep our community, and our nation, at the cutting edge of research and discovery. Institutions like Montgomery College are key to keeping our state and our nation competitive in the 21st century,” said Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in a statement.

The Bioscience Education Center is part of the college’s long-term plan for the Germantown campus’ Science and Technology Park, which will provide a continuum of life sciences education and training from middle school to postdoctoral levels in an integrated academic, business and research environment. In addition to the center, the Science and Applied Studies building, which previously housed the biology, chemistry and biotech programs, will undergo a two-phase, $39 million renovation and expansion project, reported The Gazette. Phase I of the renovation project, scheduled for completion in 2018, will include a renovation of the south side of the building facing the new Bioscience Education Center.

Also part of the development plan is the new Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, which will include an emergency room, psychiatric facility and 93 private rooms. The hospital is expected to open this October.