SALISBURY, MD---The Salisbury University Foundation has announced approval of its largest acquisition of land in the last quarter century: 19 acres at the corner of East College Avenue and South Division Street, known locally as the Dresser property.
“The University has been interested in the Dresser property for some time,” said SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach. “If you look at maps charting campus expansion over the past few years, Dresser is a logical next step. The land offers exciting possibilities for future campus development which, in the years ahead, will benefit our students and the community at large. This truly is a historic moment for the University.”
With this addition, SU expands to 173 acres on both sides of Route 13. The public university, which has a student body of over 7,800 and more than 1,700 faculty and staff, has been designated a growth institution by the University System of Maryland.
“Based on SU’s designation as a growth institution, this is precisely the type of support the SU Foundation can and should offer as we move forward together,” said Dr. Rosemary Thomas, executive director of the SU Foundation.
The $5.5 million acquisition was authorized by the SU Foundation and was negotiated by its affiliated Real Estate Foundation.
The property borders another University purchase: 9.5 acres on South Division Street Extended, previously occupied by Shoreland Freezers. Possible future uses of the two sites may include any number of academic, cultural, athletic and support facilities such as a fine and performing arts center or a new fieldhouse. The University regularly updates its Facilities Master Plan and those decisions will be made in the future.
One real use of the property now is parking. For the last two years, SU has been leasing 645 parking spaces at Dresser. The University will continue to utilize those lots.
In a process similar to the Shoreland purchase, ownership of the land is expected to be transferred after Dresser R.E., the current owner, razes the buildings, which have been unoccupied for several years.
The University has been undergoing a rapid expansion in recent years. In September, SU held the grand opening for its new $65 million Teacher Education and Technology Center. At 165,000 square feet, it’s the largest building on campus. This semester SU started construction of its first parking garage at the corner of Bateman and Wayne streets. In fall 2009, it breaks ground on a new $45 million home for the Perdue School of Business on Route 13 near Henson Science Hall and a new residence hall at the site of the current Allenwood shopping center.
“The Salisbury University of the future will offer even more opportunities to our region, the state and the nation,” said Dudley-Eshbach. “To fulfill such potential, however, we need the physical space to grow. The acquisition of Dresser has great significance. For the University, it’s our Louisiana Purchase. I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to all who made this possible, particularly Paul Parks, president of the SU Real Estate Foundation, and Kim Nechay, assistant director of the SU Foundation. Their impact on the future of this institution is immeasurable.”
For more information, visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu or call 410-543-6030.