Celebrating the Arts
Officials Break Ground for Newest Building
By Bekah Oester
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Oct. 9 for the new fine and performing arts building at Bowie State University. Many individuals critical to the project were in attendance including Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, BSU President Mickey L. Burnim, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences George Acquaah, and Student Government Association president Kirk Pressley. Numerous others were present including other local government officials, faculty members, SGA representatives, and students.
The ceremony opened at 11 a.m. with remarks from Burnim, who said "this is a special day for the university and for me," because it is his first opportunity to break ground at BSU for a new opportunity. He proceeded to recognize the special guests in attendance, then introduced and handed the floor over to O'Malley.
O'Malley began speaking with a campus classic: "BSU!" which was responded to enthusiastically. He then proceeded to share thoughts on the campus, describing BSU as a "dynamic" institution which "climbs every single year," and mentioned that school enrollment is at an all-time high. He then proceeded to discuss why the decision was made to begin this $79 million project in spite of an unstable economy. "We cannot allow our state to lose its competitive advantage," he said, referring to the fact that Maryland public schools have recently been ranked the best in the United States. He also expressed his confidence in BSU, saying "I know you'll continue to excel."
Other officials were given the opportunity to speak, who expressed their support for the project and their gratefulness to O'Malley for advocating for it. A BSU alum also spoke his enthusiasm for the project, recalling that in the past, he had to fight hard for new buildings on campus, something that isn't a problem with O'Malley in office.
As the remarks came to a close, and Burnim announced the peak of the ceremony, saying "I think we're ready to turn some dirt!" Golden helmets and shovels were given to O'Malley, Burnim, Pressley, and selected others, who posed for photographs while officially breaking the ground for the project to begin.
The fine and performing arts building behind the Crawford Science Building, will take up 123,000 square feet and will include a 400-seat main theatre, a 200-seat black box theater, a 200-seat recital hall, and an art gallery, as well as classrooms, laboratories and offices. It is expected to open October 2011.