Montgomery College Bioscience Education Center
The Montgomery College Bioscience Education Center, in the heart of the I-270 Technology Corridor in Germantown, Maryland, is a new $87.9 million structure that was conceived as a sustainable and coordinated effort to bring new educational services to the College’s Germantown campus.
The project was intended to make a statement—it includes the Biosciences building, a mile of new public roadway, and an adjacent parking area with all supporting utilities and infrastructure.
As an educational facility, the College wanted to incorporate stormwater treatment into the building and site experience. Its stormwater management elements treat every square inch of the project, from micro-bioretention facilities integrated into the landscape design of the building to bioretention in the parking lots and vegetative management practices located within the road right of way. The building features a green roof, along with wind turbines, 30 kilowatt solar panels and water-efficient landscaping. The project area features a regional stormwater management pond that treats the 80 acres on campus, controlling peak flow rates and run-off velocities to improve downstream watershed conditions. These elements along with efficient systems within the building, earned the Biosciences Center a LEED-Gold rating from the US Green Building Council. The College went even further and established a forest conservation plan that preserves 75 acres of forested area on the campus including 46-acres of high-priority forest located along I-270 and along the Gunner’s Branch tributary stream channel.
The college enjoys a close relationship with Holy Cross Hospital, combining teaching programs and in this case working with concurrent construction of adjacent facilities. Because of the necessary coordination, construction of this facility and Observation Drive needed to be completed in three phases by three separate contractors to meet the specific timelines for the hospital’s opening. Sometimes those phases overlapped which meant that things needed careful orchestration to prevent confusion. Also in the mix was an existing 30-inch water main that ran directly through the building site. The water main supplied most of Germantown, so needed to be relocated without interrupting service to a major suburban area. All of these challenges created yet another challenge in coordinating the permitting process for all of these efforts.
Montgomery College expressed their appreciation for the project team’s responsiveness and availability during the construction process to ensure that all was going smoothly on the project and that any questions or concerns were handled efficiently and accurately.
In the end, the community appreciated the improved infrastructure that went along with the project, accessibility to medical offices next to the campus and a new way to move about in a congested area near Interstate 270. Students appreciated the convenient location but were also pleased with both the look and the function of the micro-bioretention beside the building entrance. The rain cascades from one filter down to the next forming waterfalls that make them stop and take note.