Excitement Builds for ‘Giant Professional Playground for Innovation’
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) recently joined local leaders to visit the site of the future College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Velocity Center in Indian Head and receive updates on the public/private venture to develop a former warehouse into a complex for innovation and technology. The senator heard from leadership from CSM, Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head EOD Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD), Triumph Development and Mid Atlantic Development Partners.
When complete, CSM’s Velocity Center will provide resources for a variety of activities related to entrepreneurship, innovation, and workforce development and retention. The facility will grow to be 15,000-plus square feet, with space suitable for conference and open space offices, room for co-working space, cyber and robotics competition labs and other amenities. CSM Velocity Center will be a place where education and innovation meet in collaboration with the community and NSWC IHEODTD.
Describing the Velocity Center as a “giant professional playground for innovation,” CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy also shared her vision of drones flying overhead inside the large structure. “The goal of the Velocity Center is to provide students a world-class facility surrounded by some of the brightest research scientists in the country,” she said. “Our students will benefit so much from the region’s naval experts who will join in this effort to teach and build a strong local workforce.”
“This is really the first big public/private venture in Indian Head to target research and development space with retail space,” explained Triumph Development Co-founder James Fangmeyer. CSM signed a lease agreement with Triumph Development and Mid Atlantic Development Partners, who own the property and are building out the former site of the Ely’s Department Store warehouse, to accommodate the college’s needs. “We also see this as the spark that will get much needed economic development rekindled in this area. Someone just needed to say ‘yes’ to the idea – and the College of Southern Maryland, along with everyone here today, did just that.”
Last year, CSM was awarded a $500,000 endowment as one of three academic recipients of the Maryland Department of Commerce’s Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund (MEIF), a state program created to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at the state’s colleges and universities. CSM is the first community college to receive this prestigious award. CSM has also received state funding for the interior build out of the warehouse space.
The MEIF funds have been endowed by the CSM Foundation and the interest earned will support this initiative and the college’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute (EII) with the expertise required to expand CSM’s technology transfer curriculum; research and identify regional technology transfer opportunities; instill entrepreneurial skills among students, government scientists and businesses; and expand the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and workforce.
The idea of the Velocity Center aligns with the strategic plans of the region’s naval bases —NSWC IHEODTD, the Naval Air Warfare Center – Aircraft Division, the Chesapeake Bay Detachment of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory — and the Maryland Economic Development Commission and Southern Maryland Economic Development plan.