Innovation at every scale will find a home at UMD’s newest building

A two-story metal track will soon allow a crane to hoist and move projects weighing up to three tons down the length of the University of Maryland’s newest academic building.

At the same time, millions of dollars of brand-new equipment will soon allow students to conduct science on a nano scale.

It’s an example of projects — both massive and miniature — that will be able to take place inside the new 184,000-square-foot A. James Clark Hall, which will house UMd.’s bioengineering program. The $168 million building will be dedicated Friday.

Currently, those programs are scattered throughout half a dozen different sites on campus, said John Fisher, chairman of the bioengineering department at the A. James Clark School of Engineering.

“Ultimately where innovation and ideas come from is from folks talking to one another and traditionally in laboratory spaces, you have your little lab, you go in and do your little thing,” Fisher said. “The whole point of this space is to break down barriers.”

The building was designed by Ballinger and constructed by Clark Construction Group. The late contracting titan Jim Clark made a $15 million donation to support the design and construction of the hall and had contributed millions to the school since the early 1990s. Clark, a Maryland engineering alum who built Bethesda-based Clark Construction into one of the nation’s real estate powerhouses, passed away in March 2015.

Last month, UMd. announced it received a $219.5 million donation from the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation. Officials said the building was already well under construction before they learned of the gift. But they expect students studying in the building and some new endowed faculty positions will be beneficiaries of the Clark donation. They also expect future engineering buildings and programs will be supported by the gift.

Source: Washington Business Journal