The University of Maryland's President needs a new roof; sodo I. The university president has a foundation;I, however, am still looking for a job so it looks like President Loh will be getting a new roof as part of a new 4000 square foot presidential residence at the University of Maryland, College Park. With the Maryland State Comptroller dissenting, the Board of Public Works gave its approval. Mr. Franchot, it should be noted, also thought top of the line pianos were too good and too expensive for Bowie State, so we need to watch for unintended consequences in our reaction to spending and news stories.
What at first looks like a tax payer funded project in a time of revenue shortfalls turns out to be a privately funded construction project. The demolition and new construction will cost around 7.2 million and will include in addition to the residence , 10000 square feet dedicated to fundraising, as well as activities that raise "...the university's profile and visibility -- hosting high-level conferences, ambassadors, and guest speakers." This construction is to be paid for with private, non tax payer funding through the College Park Foundation which was "...established in support of the University's [of Maryland] goal to become one of the top research universities in the nation. "
The project is then an economic development opportunity for construction contractors, and one can hope that there is some provision for small Prince George's County businesses. The private funding raising foundation has the assets on hand to cover the costs. Its June 2011 balance sheet shows current assets of over 58 million and minimal liabilities.
This leaves us with a perception problem which Comptroller Franchot pointed out: "using money to replace a mansion looks bad under current financial conditions. The fact that the university may cut eight athletic teams if they cannot raise money to sustain themselves makes the construction project look even worse."
|Picture from the Office of University Communications websites|
 Michael Dresser. Plan OK'd to raze UM president's house, build $7.2M home, event center; Over Franchot's dissent, Board of Public Works approves plan to demolish 1956 structure. The Baltimore Sun. January 4, 2012. [accessed January 5, 2012] http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/breaking/bs-md-bpw-umcp-20120104,0,4205752.story
 Brian Hughes. Md. approves $550k for Bowie State pianos. Washington Examiner. November 16, 2011. [accessed January 5, 2012] http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/maryland/2011/11/md-approves-550k-bowie-state-pianos
 Millree Williams. UM Foundation to Build University Events Center/Upgrade President's Residence. Office of University Communications. August 11, 2010. [accessed January 5, 2012] http://newsdesk.umd.edu/universitynews/release.cfm?ArticleID=2211
"The needs of the current University of Maryland President's Residence, a 5,600 square-foot home (counting 1,400 square feet of basement space) built on campus in 1956, are many. It has not had any significant refurbishment since the 1980's, before now-USM Chancellor Kirwan moved in as University of Maryland president in 1989. Over time, the residence has accumulated numerous safety, structural, HVAC, and accessibility shortcomings. It is the only remaining campus residence that does not have a fire sprinkler system. It does not have smoke alarms with battery back-up on each level of the house and in each bedroom. It is not on the new campus-wide fire alarm monitoring system (existing smoke alarms and CO alarm are currently monitored through the security system). The house has asbestos containing materials and (probably) lead paint throughout. The first floor, including the primary entertainment venue converted from a garage, is not handicapped accessible, except for a wooden ramp entrance in the rear of the house. Natural gas emergency generator, foundation drainage systems, windows and exterior doors must be evaluated."
 Welcome to the College Park Foundation Website [accessed January 5, 2012] http://advancement.umd.edu/foundation/
 Financial Statements June 30, 2011 [accessed January 5, 2011] http://advancement.umd.edu/foundation/images/stories/pdfs/umcpf-2011-fs.pdf
 Megan Poinski. Franchot criticizes new College Park president’s home.