Minutes before midnight on Sept. 13, crowds of students gathered in anticipation to witness the move of Margaret Brent Hall across Route 5 to its new location, the Campus Center parking lot behind Aldom Lounge.
After being delayed one night due to inclement weather conditions, the 4,100 square foot building made it safely to the Campus Center parking lot in the early morning hours of Sept. 14. “It was up Rt. 5 and off Rt. 5 by 4:30 that morning,” said Associate Vice President for Planning and Facilities Charles “Chip” Jackson.
After the initial move, Margaret Brent was checked for any damages made while on its voyage before it was lowered into its final resting place. According to the website of the Office of Planning and Facilities, the interior of the building will see many new changes and improvements before it is used again including a lobby, kitchenette, mail room, 12 offices, a 30-seat classroom, and a seminar room.
“It all went terrifically,” said Jackson, about the move itself. “It was incredible just to watch the building actually being moved.”
The original idea to move Margaret Brent was proposed by Vice President for Business and Finance Tom Botzman “roughly a year and a half ago,” said Jackson. “He posed the first question of if we could move it versus tearing it down. How to move it and where was then controlled by my office.”
Jackson gave three basic reasons for why the move took place, rather than just tearing down and rebuilding Margret Brent Hall. One is economics. “It would have cost about a half of million dollars more [to rebuild],” said Jackson. “It’s also more sustainable. There’s a lot of energy going into the construction of a building, so there’s a green component as well.” And though Margaret Brent, built in 1950, is not a historical building, Jackson feels it’s “an important building in our past and adds to our college.”
In its new location, Margaret Brent Hall will house the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.
“I’m very excited about the move,” said Professor of Religious Studies Daniel Meckel. “[Margaret Brent] is a nice building, and it brings the department closer to the center of campus.”
Meckel hopes the new location of the department will allow occasional outdoor classes to be more possible as well as introduce a more appealing student hang out spot. “I would like to see students flowing in and out as much as possible,” he said.
The current home of the department is in Anne Arundel Hall, which is set to be torn down in Fall 2013 to make way for the new Maryland Heritage Interpretive Center, to be completed in summer of 2016, according to Jackson.
This new 33,700 gross square foot center, in addition to the replacement of Anne Arundel Hall, will allow Historic St. Mary’s City and college academic programs in anthropology, museum studies, and language and cultures to collaborate in preserving the historical and archaeological aspect of the first capital of Maryland. The site will feature a new courtyard, more handicapped accessibility, additional college parking, safer walkways and roadways, and new landscaping surrounding the complex.