Lease approved for new life sciences institute at University of Maryland BioPark in west Baltimore

Governor Martin O’Malley announced Jan. 28 the University of Maryland BioPark, a biomedical research park located on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, will have a new tenant next year. The Board of Public Works has approved a 10-year lease for space to be occupied by the Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) Life Sciences Institute.

Negotiated by the Maryland Department of General Services’ Office of Real Estate, the lease provides 31,622 square feet of space at 801 West Baltimore Street to be used to train as many as 200 students a year. The Life Sciences Institute is designed to prepare students for rewarding careers in high-demand biotechnology fields.

“This exciting sharing of space, resources, expertise and services will benefit Baltimore City residents by providing more career and technology education program options for graduating high school seniors,” said Governor O’Malley. “By locating in the BioPark, students and faculty will receive tangible benefits through collaboration with the University of Maryland, Baltimore and businesses located in the region. The direct economic impact of the Life Sciences Institute will be the development of a workforce educated and trained to successfully undertake the new jobs projected in the health/biosciences industries.”

BCCC will move its Biotechnology, Environmental Science, Arts & Science Transfer (Pre-Dental, Pre-Medical, Pre-Pharmacy) programs to the BioPark location. In addition, BCCC has plans to develop several workforce certificate and training programs such as Medical Laboratory Technician, Cell Culture Technician, Animal Research Technician, Forensics Laboratory Science, and Sterilization. Customized on-site training programs serving the needs of local life science employers including federal research institutions such as the National Institutes of Health that are located in the region could include OSHA regulations, GMP, GLP, and other customized training.

“We are thrilled to be a part of Governor O’Malley’s focus on life sciences workforce training,” said BCCC President Dr. Carolane Williams. “The Life Sciences Institute will directly support Maryland’s families with its focus and unique curriculums offering new careers for the unemployed and the underemployed.”

The Life Sciences Institute is also a core element of a developing program between the Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy High School, BCCC and UMB. This high school, located near the UMB BioPark, is a Baltimore City public science careers high school offering 600 students Biotechnology, Pharmacy Tech, Surgery Tech, and Allied Health career pathways. The 4+2+2 program — so-called because after obtaining their four-year high school degree, students can pursue a two-year associates degree a few blocks away at BCCC, and then go on for two more years at UMB to obtain their Bachelor’s degree — will offer a clear career pathway in manageable steps to city students who may not have seen college in their future. BCCC and UMB will work with the high school administration to support students in areas of academics, career exploration, college preparation and internships. Bioscience companies residing in the UMB BioPark and UMB research centers will be key partners in exposing students to a variety of exciting scientific career paths.

Having the BCCC Institute on the UMB campus will also create new opportunities for student interaction with the University through access to internships and job shadowing. With the State of Maryland building its new Forensic Medical Center in the BioPark and new companies locating there, there is a natural fit for such programs.

“As the bioscience industry continues to mature in Maryland and more biological products come on the market, there will be a growing need for trained workers not just at the Ph.D. scientist level,” said Jim Hughes, President, UMB Research Park Corporation. “The BCCC Life Sciences Institute will train the workers that will allow Maryland to retain, spawn and attract bioscience companies. Workforce is always one of the top issues defining a company’s success.”

The Board approved the 10-year lease with an annual rent of $1,052,696 with Wexford UMB2, LLC, the landlord, beginning in August 2009. Additionally, the landlord will meet the State’s 25% minority business goal when outfitting the space. The BCCC Life Sciences Institute will occupy the entire second floor of 801 West Baltimore Street. The facility will include laboratories, classrooms, and faculty offices.

DGS is currently managing construction of a $43,217,600 state-of-the-art Forensic Medical Center located in the UMB Maryland BioPark. The six-story, 120,000 square-foot building will be the most modern medical examiner’s facility in the United States designed with today’s needs and technologies with the flexibility to incorporate future technologies to maximize the State’s investment. Scheduled for completion in July 2010, the facility will be the second largest stand-alone medical examiner facility in the nation.

The Forensic Medical Center is the fourth of an award winning 12-building scientific complex that will bring 2,500 jobs to Baltimore’s west side. In the four years since it was established, the BioPark employs nearly 450 people and has generated more than $135 million in capital investments.

Release text provided courtesy of Dave Humphrey, DGS Communications, 410-767-4652

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