Cumberland Times-News

January 31, 2014

Congressman visits Garrett College, tours various facilities

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— MCHENRY — U.S. Rep. John Delaney, the first-term congressman representing the 6th District, took a tour of Garrett College on Friday morning.

Delaney toured the state-of-the-art Engineering/Robotics Lab in the Technology Building on campus. There are full-time students working in the lab, which opened last year, according to Phil Malone, Garrett College engineering adjunct professor and robotics team mentor. The lab promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

“This is a really good addition to the education department,” said Qing Yuan, director of the Business and Information Technology and Engineering program.

The facility was created to provide expanded hands-on learning opportunities for those pursuing careers in engineering and related fields.

Delaney also toured the Garrett Information Enterprise Center, which covers the three programs that Delaney is focusing on — those who have been left behind, military and, especially, job creation, according to Mike Tumbarello, GIEC founder and coordinator.

The tour also featured the Hive, a new innovative shared work environment that will be located in the GIEC.

“It’s a great place for people looking to start a business or wanting to relocate,” said Tumbarello.

The Hive provides 24/7 access to a clean, safe facility with amenities such as broadband Wi-Fi access. Members of the Hive and the community will have access to workshops, videos and tutorials on small business formation and management. Coworkers in the GIEC will have access to business courses offered through Continuing Education and Workforce Development, according to the college’s website.

Over the last several years, there has been an international growth spurt in the movement referred to as coworking, which the Hive will provide. Coworking involves a shared working environment for independent activity by people who are usually not employed by the same organization, and the space they inhabit is referred to as a hive.

A grand opening for the Hive will be held on Friday at 10 a.m.

Delaney also toured the Community Aquatic and Recreation Complex veterans center lounge and the library. The complex, a state-of-the-art fitness and wellness center, offers a full-size competition pool as well as a warm water pool, which are the only community access pools in the area, according to Ann Wellham, dean of marketing and enrollment management.

“It’s a great facility,” said Delaney.

The Adventure Sports program uses the complex for kayaking practice and the facility will play host to the Deep Creek 2014: International Canoe Federation Canoe Slalom World Championship award ceremonies. The college is also a sponsor of Deep Creek 2014.

The $23 million complex is funded by the state and county.

Delaney also got an update on the college’s 10-year facilities master plan, which includes total renovation projects, such as a performing arts center, to be in the same location as the old gym, and a STEM building. The rest of the plan just calls for renovation of the building itself, according to Josephine Gilman, dean of administration and finance. The total cost for the project would be $30 million, with $15 million committed from the county and a $15 million match expected from the state.  

Delaney questioned if students would be added because of the renovation.

“Potentially, particulary in workforce development, there is going to be a much nicer space,” said Gilman.

Delaney questioned what the employment placement record for college grads is and stressed that community colleges distinguish themselves by their job placements.

One year after graduating, Garrett College students on average have the highest grade-point average before continuing on to another school, according to Wellham.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.