Advancing a campus mission to provide pathways to success

Howard Community College, Campus Master Plan, Columbia, MD

Opened in 1970, Howard Community College (HCC) has become an integral part of life for Howard County residents, and nearly half of the county’s undergraduates attend HCC. Located halfway between Baltimore and Washington D.C., the college has experienced significant growth and has benefited from the economic regional success. To keep the college on this trajectory, we were engaged to undertake a comprehensive master plan update.

Key to the initial planning was conducting an environmental scan of the region to identify the college’s “student of the future” and to assess entrepreneurial opportunities to fuel growth through industry partnerships. In collaboration with college leadership, we led community engagement workshops, outreach to the business community, and sessions devoted to organizational development and change. New enrollment models were developed based on demographic analysis, along with new educational programs in health and cyber-security to match the anticipated robust growth in those markets over the next decade in the region.

Recently adopted state environmental mandates placed physical constraints on future growth, requiring a high level facilities assessment and space utilization analysis of the entire HCC campus to optimize efficiency while meeting emerging needs. A space program was developed to “right-size” facilities for future needs and redefined the types of academic spaces that will cater to the next generation of HCC students.

Recommendations for infrastructure improvements included circulation for pedestrians, vehicles and public transportation; information technology; storm-water management and conservation strategies meeting the new State of Maryland regulations on water quality and reforestation; and options for the future development of the campus’ North Parcel to create a sense of place and arrival.