After 15 years of advocacy and 22 months of construction, and through the dedicated efforts of alumni, students, preceptors, faculty and staff, the School of Pharmacy opened its doors to the new Pharmacy Hall Addition on Aug. 23.
The start of the fall semester was celebrated with an ice cream social in the building's three-story atrium. More than 300 people turned out to walk through the new space and to enjoy cool treats scooped by associate deans and department chairs. Pictured are from left, Richard Dalby, PhD, associate dean of academic affairs, and Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science.
"We were so pleased to welcome our students into the building," said Dean Natalie D. Eddington, PhD. "While there is still some work continuing in the building in order to make it absolutely perfect, the first day of class was a wonderful way to welcome everyone home."
The building is a substantial addition to the existing one, which is nearly 30 years old. The Pharmacy Hall Addition is seven stories tall and has 126,000 square feet of space. It includes lecture halls equipped with technology for distance learning, experiential learning facilities, and research laboratories. It also includes a dispensing laboratory with state-of-the-art robotics--a trend that allows pharmacists to dedicate more time to other critical patient care duties such as medication management therapy.
"You are in a magnificent new home," said Jay A. Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland campus in Baltimore. "Do great things in this building," he told returning students and more than 100 first-year students on the opening day of classes in the new facility.
While faculty and staff will be moving into the building in phases during the fall semester, the School will celebrate the opening of the new building with a series of special events in October.
A reception for the School's leadership donors will be held on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m., which will include the unveiling of named spaces in the building. The grand opening ceremony will be held Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 10:30 a.m., with an audience of city, state, and national officials, community leaders, leading pharmacy association officials, members of the School of Pharmacy's Board of Visitors, campus dignitaries, alumni, faculty, staff, and students. The ceremony will be followed by a reception in the building's three-story atrium and tours.
At 1:30 that afternoon, Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, principal deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and a former Baltimore City health commissioner, will present the annual Francis S. Balassone Memorial Lecture. The Maryland Pharmacists Association and the Alumni Association of the School of Pharmacy established the annual lecture in 1976. It offers pharmacy advocates and innovators of pharmacy practice an opportunity to speak on visionary topics for the future of the profession.
From 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 5, the School will then host an Open House for the campus community. On Oct. 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the School will welcome back all of its alumni for a special reunion and brunch.
Eddington said that the additional space in the Pharmacy Hall Addition will give the School, already ranked the ninth school of pharmacy in the nation, even greater opportunities.
"Our School produces pharmacists who embrace the profession's traditions while focusing on its expanded roles - interacting with patients, facilitating chronic disease management, immunizing patients, and collaborating with other health care providers in order to improve a patient's understanding of his or her medications, ultimately improving outcomes."
Four floors of the new building are dedicated to bench side research in state-of-the-art laboratories. "Our new science facilities provide a unique setting for multidisciplinary, collaborative research that will help keep our faculty at the forefront of discovering new, novel, and improved therapeutics," said Eddington.
Design and construction of the Pharmacy Hall Addition emphasized dozens of innovative, energy-efficient features, such as extensive natural lighting, high-efficiency chillers, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, certified wood veneers, a roof storm water retention and filtration system, water-efficient landscaping, low emitting paints, green housekeeping, and the use of recycled materials. The building also includes bicycle racks and a shower/changing room for cyclists.
During construction, 90 percent of the material waste was diverted from disposal by a material recycling operation. The building is anticipated to achieve the coveted silver designation in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, according to the U.S. Green Building Council LEED ratings.
"The School's new building was a long time in the making and we have so many people to thank for bringing it to fruition," said Eddington. "Alumni, preceptors, friends, faculty, staff, and students were all instrumental in convincing the state of our need for additional and improved space. Through our new Pharmacy Hall, we will be able to expand our impact on our core mission areas of education, research, patient care, and community outreach."
The grand opening events are sponsored by Fisher Scientific Inc. (premier sponsor), Agilent Technologies (partner sponsor), and Cardinal Health, Inc., Chesapeake Research Review, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., Correct Rx Pharmacy Services, Inc., CVS Caremark, LLC, EPIC Pharmacies, Inc., IMS Government Solutions, L.H. Cranston and Sons, Inc., Mahogany, Inc., MBR Construction Services, Inc., MedStar Health, Rite Aid Corp., and The PharmaCare Network (supporting sponsors).
The School's PharmD program at the Universities at Shady Grove held an ice cream social on Aug. 24 to celebrate the start of the new term and the first semester with a full complement of 160 students in the program there.