Students, faculty, staff and community members gathered in the Health and Life Sciences Building on Tuesday to celebrate its grand opening with college and local officials.
AACC President Dawn Lindsay spoke at the event, highlighting the building’s “18 new biology labs and 20 new health science labs.” The building also holds a greenhouse, computer labs, simulation labs, classrooms, and study and meeting rooms.
“We focused on the community, the campus, the culture and the diversity of the building, ensuring innovation and creativity to highlight our [health and life sciences] programs,” Lindsay said. “Most importantly, the focus is on our students.”
Lindsay cited research that shows a shift in education from a traditional to a more creative, active, high-tech and interdisciplinary learning community.
“This building will promote a culture of lifelong learning with the focus on student completion [and] meeting the diverse needs of the community while eliminating barriers for our students,” Lindsay said.
Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan, who also spoke, thanked everyone in attendance and those who worked on the building for their “continued investment” and “support.”
“Thanks to the hard work and the support of so many people [to complete] this beautiful building,” she said. “We are starting to not only [reach] AACC students, but the wider communities [in the] state and the region.”
Lindsay said AACC students, faculty, staff and community members “deserve the best” and it’s “fitting” that the college’s latest project was completed during its 60th anniversary year.
“The Health and Life Sciences Building is yet one more example in a long history of service to Anne Arundel County and Maryland as a whole,” Lindsay said.
The president said the 175,000-square-foot, three-story building is the largest on AACC’s Arnold campus. She said she walked 1.2 miles, according to her Apple Watch, to cover every floor of the building.
She acknowledged the inconvenience caused by ever-changing traffic patterns, displaced parking spaces and construction on campus for the last two years.
Darek Redmond, a first-year business administration student, was eating at Chick-fil-A in the building’s lobby when he saw the crowd enter and he decided to stay for the event.
“I figured why not show up, support and see what this building is all about?” he said.
Student Government Association President Ben Nussbaumer, who is part of the Campus Ambassadors’ team, greeted attendees and participated a ceremonial ribbon cutting following speeches.
“I got the honor of holding [one end of] the ribbon, so that was pretty fun,” Nussbaumer, a third-year general education student, said.
Nussbaumer called the experience “awesome.”
Rachel Ritter, a first-year nursing student, will begin taking classes in the building in January.
“I’m so excited to have this awesome building and to partake in the [nursing] program,” Ritter said. “I feel really honored to be a part of this community.”
Other officials, including Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, also attended the ceremony.
Lindsay said the building would not be on the campus without the support of the community, county and state.
“Thank you for your belief and your continued commitment to our students,” Lindsay said. “One look at this building and we all know it was well worth it.”
The Health and Life Sciences building opened for classes in August at the start of the fall semester.