SMCM Trustees to Finally Meet to Discuss Boathouse Relocation Friday

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (Nov. 16, 2007) - The Buildings and Grounds Subcommittee of the St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) Board of Trustees will meet on Friday, Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. in room 205 of the Campus Center. Topics under consideration include the proposed recommendations to the full Board of Trustees concerning the moving of the Rowing Center and the establishment of a Design and Advisory Committee to provide public input on future capital projects.

SMCM has come under heavy public fire since August for the placement of its new Rowing Center. The center, funded primarily by contributions from wealthy Trustees and alumni, is located right along the St. Mary's River adjacent to Maryland Route 5. Some local citizens say the buildings obstruct the scenic river view and negatively impact the historic character of area.

The cause has been championed by State Senator Roy Dyson (D-29). Dyson has made little apparent headway in obtaining a resolution that would satisfy his constituents, as by all accounts SMCM followed the law to the letter when seeking local, state, and federal approvals for the project.

To appease the public, SMCM's president Maggie O'Brien, at the behest of the Trustees, chartered a study by an ad hoc committee to propose a resolution to the dilemma. The committee was unable to obtain a consensus about moving the building--although the option is discussed in their plan.

This will be the first official meeting of the Trustees where they will openly discuss the issue.

Southern Maryland’s U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer (D) is a member of the board. To date he has been unwilling to comment on the controversy other than to say he has not developed a position.

However, Hoyer inserted an earmark for $630,000 into the federal Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to facilitate a shoreline stabilization project for the Rowing Center project. The project will reclaim 10-12 feet of the 20 lost to erosion over the past few decades. The WRDA was passed in early November after a U.S. Senate override of President Bush’s veto.

Other local members of the Board of Trustees include: Benjamin C. Bradlee of the Washington Post, Cindy Broyles of Tall Timbers, G. Thomas Daugherty of Lexington Park, Thomas Penfield Jackson of Compton, John J. McAllister of Leonardtown, Michael O'Brien of Solomons, and Robert Waldschmitt of Solomons.

While SMCM is a state-owned and operated college, it is considered the State’s “Honor College” and does not fall under the University of Maryland system. Therefore, it also enjoys its own independent Board of Trustees.

Dyson says, because of the boathouse controversy and the perceived lack of cooperation from the Trustees, he is seeking to have the college placed under the University of Maryland system.

The quarterly meeting of the Board of Trustees will be Saturday, Dec. 1. The board will meet in general session in the Jarrod Aldom '97 Lounge in the Campus Center at 11 a.m.

Both meetings are open to the public.

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