Visions for the Campus
Once UMBC was open and operating, the firms of RTKL, Inc. (Architects and Planners), Rummel, Klepper, and Kahl (Site Engineers), and Egli and Gompf, Inc. (Mechanical and Electrical engineers) were asked to create a Master Plan for use as a record of the campus development and as a tool for future expansion of the new campus. The resulting Master Plan made many cogent observations that have shaped the development even up to the present. For example, the authors observed that a grid of 250 foot squares would constitute the basic building unit of the campus and that "the central axis established by the grid would be reinforced by location of a formal campus entry and a dominant campus building, the library."
Originally drawn in 1969, just three years after the campus opened, this development planning map was updated in 1973 and has remarkable similarity to the actual spaces used for campus buildings as they exist now. The dates of construction for buildings shown on the map legend were wishful thinking. Phase III of the Library was not constructed until 1995, and the theatre, part of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building, was not completed until 2012. Most likely the list of projects and dates of use were placeholders recognizing campus needs rather than the expected schedule when the Governor, the Board of Public Works, and the Legislature would have approved funding for the construction projects.
As the map on the back cover of the 1982-83 UMBC Student Directory shows, buildings were traditionally named for their function (e.g. Lecture Hall 1 or Chemistry/Physics); the dormitories were named for Maryland bodies of water (e.g. Susquehanna Hall) or for miscellaneous reasons (e.g. West Hill Apartments which are actually located on the east side of campus).
Conflicting opinions about the naming scheme of UMBC’s buildings, and Academic IV in particular, motivated the formation of a committee to propose a formal process by which names could be approved. The report of the committee was sent to the UMBC Faculty Senate in March 1983. The committee recommended that the existing convention of using geographical names for dormitories should be continued, however, "As names of Maryland bodies of water are all but exhausted, the committee proposes that the six academic buildings be named for the counties in closest proximity to Baltimore City, and that future buildings be named for other counties." This suggestion was never implemented.
In the early 1990s, architectural consultants LDR, Inc. prepared a Campus Facilities Master Plan that outlined how UMBC would structurally grow over the next 20 years. Basing the plan on everything from traffic studies and enrollment projections to campus interviews, LDR projected that the next seven years would see additions including the engineering building, the third phase of the library (the tower), a new residence hall, and an expansion to the Fieldhouse. With the library as the signature building, LDR recommended landscaping the area in front and adding a focal point such as a bell tower. The overall plan accounted for an increase in enrollment from 10,000 to 16,000 students and included other expansions such as a parking garage, outdoor olympic sized pool, and new performing arts building.