Oldest Building

What is the oldest standing building on campus? —Sara Shannon ’05, social work

fa15-oldestbuilding-webWhen the Hillcrest Building (1921) that served a variety of purposes in the campus’ first 40 years was razed in 2007, one might reasonably conclude that the two remaining structures in the trio of academic buildings – Biological Sciences, Lecture Hall One – that opened on the first day of classes on September 19, 1966 are the oldest remaining buildings at UMBC.

Not so fast. Excluding the silo on UMBC Boulevard, and a Surge Facility (1955) located on Wilkens Avenue that predates the campus’ founding, the oldest remaining building is actually the Technology Research Center at the southeast corner of UMBC’s campus.

The Technology Research Center was built in 1957, almost a decade before UMBC was founded. For many years, it housed Occupational Training Administration services (including an Apprenticeship and Training Council) for the Maryland Department of Employment and Training. According to files in the Albin O. Kuhn Library’s Special Collections Department, it also housed a local branch of the Police Athletic League.

UMBC administrators did not have their eye on the building in the first two decades of the university’s development and growth. It was not mentioned in early master plans, and its presence at the edge of campus never featured on maps of the era. Yet a shift in UMBC’s focus to aggressively pursue research programs and partnerships during the presidency of Michael Hooker (1986- 1992) found the university needing more space for centers and classrooms.

The university and the state successfully negotiated terms for a lease of the building in 1987 and 1988, and the building’s transfer to UMBC was celebrated in a ceremony on December 1, 1989, which was hosted by Hooker and attended by a number of public officials.

– Richard Byrne ’86