BALTIMORE — The University of Maryland Baltimore started its expansion efforts to renovate the West Baltimore Community with a new Community Engagement Center.
UMB officials say the $8 million project will move the CEC around the corner to a 20,000-square-foot historic building on Poppleton Street where services and activities can be expanded to meet growing community demand.
They hope the new building will be the cornerstone of UMB’s Community Campus while strengthening West Baltimore in collaboration with the neighbors who live there.
“UMB’s Office of Community Engagement, as well as our many community partners and our community advisory board members, have worked tirelessly over the last four years to grow the CEC into what it is today,” says Ashley Valis, MSW, the Executive Director for the Office of Community Engagement and resident of West Baltimore. “Together, we have imagined, planned, brainstormed, and convened many residents to deliver a new community center that will be a welcoming, fun, educational, relaxing, respectful, and transformational space for our neighbors. It will be a place that our community deserves and has been needed for a long time.”
With the new center being seven times larger than the current center, it is expected to house the UMB Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL) and serve as a home to UMB’s nationally recognized CURE Scholars Program, which prepares West Baltimore middle and high school students for competitive and rewarding careers in research, STEM, and health care.