Bruce Jarrell speaks from behind a podium

Plans include converting Lexington Street area into “College Town USA” with housing, shops, and research space as president also outlines UMB’s many accomplishments.

During his State of the University address May 1 at the M&T Bank Exchange, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, led the audience on a “tour” around West Baltimore and laid out his vision for a vibrant University and city.

First stop: the Hippodrome Theatre that adjoins the “jewel” of a building the 525 attendees were sitting in and was in a state of disrepair 40 years ago, now restored with the help of UMB. Jarrell took the audience members down a few blocks to the remodeled CFG Bank Arena, where he recently attended a sold-out concert on a Tuesday night.

“It ended at 10:30 and let out about the same time as the Hippodrome. You couldn’t walk, the streets were crowded, people were excited,” he said. “Maybe something good is happening around here.”

Jarrell envisions this same vibrancy — a place with culture, activity, and engagement — for the Lexington Street area of UMB’s campus, which sits near the remodeled Lexington Market. He announced that UMB is engaging private developers to convert the Lexington Street area into housing, stores, and research space for UMB students, faculty, staff, and others. UMB has created a development plan with consultants.

“We’d like to see this develop into an area that resembles a ‘College Town USA’ kind of atmosphere, an exciting place to be,” he said. “And we think we will be successful.”

Nearby sits Metro West, a building on Saratoga Street that has been vacant for 10 years.

“We’re very pleased that the Maryland Department of Health just next year is going to be moving into the Metro West building. That’s 1,200 people working there,” Jarrell said. “You can imagine how all of the people working there will flood Lexington Market, will give vibrancy to our campus.”

Behind Lexington Market, he said, UMB is making safety a priority on Eutaw Street and working to help people in need there through the EMBRACE initiative.

“The purpose is to get resources to people on the street to give them hope for their future,” he said.

School of Social Work Building

UMB will be constructing a new School of Social Work building, expected to open in 2027, in this area of campus at West Lexington and North Greene streets. Emphasizing the University’s commitment to sustainability, the building will include solar panels, geothermal energy, and green space.

“The important part about this area of development is that not only the School of Social Work but all of our schools will be immediately adjoining the Maryland Department of Health. There will be opportunity there and we will be able to influence them in positive ways and will become much closer to them,” he said. “This will add to UMB’s vibrancy.”

Read more at UMB News

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