SMCM To Give Public Say in Proposed Amphitheater - Southern Maryland Headline News

SMCM To Give Public Say in Proposed Amphitheater

Meetings designed to prevent another Boathouse-like confrontation with public

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (June 18, 2008) - The first meeting of the newly formed St. Mary's College and Historic St. Mary's City Capital Design Advisory committee (CDA) will be held on Thursday, June 19, at 7 p.m. in Schaefer Hall, Room 106, at St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM). The primary agenda item for this meeting is the College's proposed new amphitheater. This meeting is open to the public.

The CDA was created by SMCM and Historic St. Mary's City to provide an interface for community input to their capital development planning. The CDA is charged with seeking public comment in its review of master plan and design proposals for major capital improvement and landscape projects on the St. Mary's College campus and the grounds of Historic St. Mary's City.

The creation of the CDA is a direct result of the recent boathouse issue that pitted local residents against the SMCM Board of Directors over the placement of the new River Center. Some residents were upset that the new facility obstructed the public's scenic view of the St. Mary's River. One of the key complaints raised by opponents of the project was that the public was not notified about the college's intent and subsequently not given an opportunity to provide input.

The formation of the CDA was approved at the Board's Dec. 3, 2007 meeting where they voted unanimously not to alter their plans to complete the River Center in spite of the public's opposition.

At a meeting of the Capital Design Advisory Committee on Dec. 2, 2007, Chip Jackson, Associate V.P. for Facilities, noted that in years prior the college had tried working with the public on proposed capital projects, but interest had eventually waned and the process was dropped.

Upon completion of their review, the CDA will provide comments for the adoption, modification, or rejection of proposals to the Building and Grounds Committee of the College's Board of Trustees, and/or the HSMC Commission Executive Board. In its review and formulation of comments, the CDA will focus on the following issues: quality of design, visual impact, stewardship of significant historical resources, stewardship of environmental resources, and sensitivity to community interests.

Membership of the CDA includes representatives from established community organizations, the college, and the city. These include the following: Chip Jackson, SMCM co-chair; Roger Hill, HSMC co-chair; James Hardin, Trinity Parish representative; Gary Williams, St. Mary's River Watershed Association representative; Ingrid Swann, St. Mary's County Arts Council representative; Raymond Dodson, St. Mary's Chamber of Commerce representative; Bryan Siebert, Citizens for the Preservation of St. Mary's City representative; Pete Himmelheber, St. Mary's County Historical Society representative; Julia King, faculty representative; Mac McClintock, college staff representative; and Sunny Schnitzer, student representative.

The public meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Schaefer Lecture Hall, Room 106. In addition to receiving a presentation on the proposed new amphitheater, this meeting will include an overview of the SMCM master plan, the HSMC master plan, and the college early-warning security system. Each topic will be followed by a discussion and public comments.

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