Bowie State MARC Station Sector Plan
Joint Hearing before the Prince George's County Council and the
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Council Hearing Room, First Floor, County Administration Building
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Testimony of Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim, Ph.D.
Good evening, Madame Chair, Councilmembers, Chairman Parker and members of the Planning Board.
I am Mickey Burnim, President of Bowie State University, and I am pleased to have this opportunity to testify in support of the Bowie State MARC Station Sector Plan. With me today are members of my Cabinet, along with the National President of the Bowie State University Alumni Association. Before I talk about the Plan itself, let me share a few words about the process that brought us to the plan.
As a major stakeholder in this important project, Bowie State University was an active partner in the process. Along with our Councilperson, Ingrid Turner, Chairman Parker and Ms. Vanessa Akins and her staff came to campus at the very beginning of the process and met with me and members of my Cabinet. Mr. Kierre McCune was our main contact with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and he worked closely with my staff and actively engaged the University community. I personally attended several briefings over the course of a year or so, and had the opportunity to present to the Planning team our vision for Bowie State University as we look to the future. The staff listened, educated us, asked questions, answered our questions, proposed ideas, and engaged the University community in productive discussions about how the University's needs and aspirations fit with the County's overall growth strategy. In addition to providing work space for the Planning staff, we hosted and helped promote several charrettes on campus, and I believe the participation by the campus community and the greater community was very good.
I want to publically thank the entire Planning team for their work and for the wonderful partnership that developed with the University. In particular, I would like to recognize and publically thank Mr. McCune and Ms. Akins, who have been great to work with.
The Plan provides for mixed use development in the area surrounding our campus and does it in an environmentally sensitive manner. It also provides for improved access to the MARC station, which, as you know sits right at our campus. It calls for wonderful enhancements along Route 197 which will provide greater visibility for Bowie State and help in our efforts to market the university. Approval of the Plan would clear the way for Bowie State University to realize its long-term goals for expansion: we envision, among other things, more student housing and affordable housing for junior faculty; a convocation center or central gathering place to hold university events to which the public could be invited; and places for students and staff to shop and enjoy the surroundings. All of these things we believe will enhance the quality of the educational experience for our students.
The Plan reflects the hard work and thoughtful consideration of our interests that took place over the course of a year. It is bold and creative, and is very much aligned with our goals. All of what we could hope for as we work to build a greater University appears to be provided for in the Plan. I enthusiastically endorse it and urge you to approve it.
One footnote -- you may be aware that one of our students designed the cover for the Plan. Her name is Samantha Key and she is a junior visual communications and digital arts major. We are very proud of her.
Thank you for your attention and your support.