For Immediate Release
May 7, 2009
Contacts: Neil Tickner, 301 405 4622 or email@example.com
Hillock Statement by Dr. Ann Wylie, University of Maryland Vice President of Administrative Affairs
Some questions have been raised this week concerning nine acres on the west side of campus near the Comcast Center - a wooded area known as the "hillock." Nearly 22 acres of campus operations will be consolidated and centralized on or near this spot to create space for the new East Campus Development Project.
The questions have been raised with genuine concern over the loss of the trees in the area and deserve a serious response.
1. Great care, rigor and planning went into the selection of this site - a process that included student and other university representatives as well as input from city officials. The site was approved by the University's Facilities Council, a broadly representative body. The site was chosen from among many considered.
2. In the end, the project represents a net gain in sustainability. The East Campus development, and the relocation of university facilities from the East Campus site to the hillock site, rather than other considered sites, will cut down on driving, make the campus more walkable and accessible and advance the University towards its core goal of a carbon neutral footprint.
3. The site selection minimizes the environmental impact of the project - including the fact that it will NOT affect the Anacostia watershed.
4. An independent study of the site by the University of Maryland Sustainability Office found it acceptable. The study recommends a series of steps to mitigate the environmental impact, which we will implement. These include dedicating, in perpetuity, six to nine acres of trees at another site on campus (as designated by the Maryland Department of the Environment).
5. I have been getting feedback and concerns from some faculty and students this week and have listened carefully. I will walk those concerned through the site selection process and all the issues that were involved. The University is open to a better option that will meet the objectives within the financial constraints of the project and in consideration of the current uses of the land.
To put all this into perspective:
When the East Campus Project is finished, there will be 1,300 more beds within walking distance of campus. The amenities our students seek will be within walking distance. The campus operations will be consolidated centrally, and electric off-road vehicle usage will increase. We will provide storm water management and other environmental upgrades that do not currently exist on East Campus. The East Campus project as a whole should be viewed as a part of our aggressive program to increase sustainability and minimize impact on the climate.
Ann Wylie, Vice President for Administrative Affairs, University of Maryland
Information provided by the Office of University Communications
Email University Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org