Morgan State board OKs Lake Clifton acquisition
The Morgan State University Board of Regents unanimously approved the purchase of additional property in East Baltimore, bringing the institution one step closer to creating its first modern satellite campus.
The university plans to acquire three city-owned parcels of land, which includes the old Lake Clifton High School campus and the historic Clifton Park Valve House, and spend $200 million to establish a satellite campus about a mile south of its main campus. To finalize the sale, Morgan State awaits approval from the Maryland Board of Public Works at its May 11 meeting.
“This is about Morgan State University in [the year] 3000,” Morgan State President David Wilson said. “We’ve got to make sure that this institution 40 years from now is one of the top universities in the world, and this will enable us to move forward in that direction.”
Morgan State will pay roughly $94,000 for about 59 acres of land, covering the city’s bond debt on the property owed to the state. According to the Board of Public Works agenda for May 11, Lipman Frizzell & Mitchell appraised the land for Baltimore City at more than $4 million.
With the purchase, Baltimore City stands to save more than $700,000 in annual maintenance and security costs.
The purchased land would help expand Morgan State’s housing and retail options, according to Wilson. These additions should help keep students clustered in the same area, said Kevin M. Banks, Morgan State’s vice president for student affairs, at Friday’s meeting of the Board of Regents’ executive committee.
Wilson said the university also hopes to construct a multipurpose center on the satellite campus with an arena space large enough to fit about 10,000 attendees. Development of the overall site is planned to take place over the next 15 to 20 years, he said.
Along with development of the satellite campus, Wilson said there are plans to help uplift neighboring communities in East Baltimore.
U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, the chairman of Morgan’s Board of Regents, said the decision to acquire these city properties is as transformational and historic as when the university moved from its small building on Fulton Avenue and Edmondson in 1917.
“Can you imagine how many more students we can be serving? How many special programs we can have in this place?” the Baltimore Democrat said. “It’s a really big deal.”