Plans for North Campus Housing, Dining Facility Under Way
Varsity Practice Field, to the right of Maryland Stadium's upper deck, 2014. (Photo by John T. Consoli)
The University of Maryland is gearing up for a residential refresh.
Construction is slated to begin next summer on a new North Campus housing and dining facility. The $136.45 million project will include one residential building and one dining building where the Varsity Practice Field is now located, as well as one residence hall north of Farm Drive.
The new housing will accommodate around 900 first- and second-year students, with designs that maximize natural light and likely will include more single rooms for students and high-quality common areas, study spaces and lounges.
“There are a number of our buildings that are quite old and no longer meet the expectations of our students,” said Deborah Grandner, director of the Department of Resident Life. The project will advance ResLife and Residential Facilities’ long-term plan to replace or renovate outdated buildings.
Residence halls under consideration for demolition are Caroline, Carroll, Wicomico, and Old and New Leonardtown. The new dining facility will replace the North Campus Dining Hall, known as the Diner, which will remain a Division of Student Affairs building. Plans are still being developed for its specific use.
Though a larger-than-expected influx of students sought housing this fall, the North Campus facility isn’t intended to add more housing capacity, Grandner said. Instead, it will improve the quality of available housing, leading to more equitable assignments. The facility could help close the gap, for instance, between students living in Prince Frederick, which opened in 2014 as UMD’s newest residence hall, and Wicomico, an un-air-conditioned hall built in 1954.
The new dining facility will be the first constructed at UMD since the South Campus Dining Hall opened in 1974. It will seat around 1,100, include 10 to 12 culinary stations and feature a variety of seating styles, like high tables, couches and lounge areas, said Bart Hipple, assistant director of Dining Services.
Culinary stations will include comfort food, vegan and allergen-free meals, and “peak performance” options to promote physical and mental wellness, such as buckwheat pancakes, seaweed salads, and smoothies with fruit and flaxseed or chia seeds.
“We’re going to keep evolving the concept right until we open,” Hipple said, “and then we’ll keep evolving.”
Construction on the first residence hall, located north of Farm Drive, is expected to be completed by Spring 2021, said Executive Director of Planning and Construction for Facilities Management Bill Olen.
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