Executive Ulman Opens Renovated Savage Branch Library and STEM Education Center

July 22, 2014
Howard County Government

 July 22, 2014


Executive Ulman Opens Renovated Savage Branch Library and STEM Education Center

Expanded facility continues trend of state-of-art buildings geared toward learning


ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Ken Ulman today reopened the Howard County Library System Savage Branch and STEM Education Center after an 18-month, $6.1 million renovation to make it the newest and most modern building in a system ranked as No. 1 in North America.


“This is the library that this community deserves, and we are taking the best system in North America and making it even better,” Executive Ulman said. “This technology-oriented facility is a place where our young people will come, learn, grow and prepare for the future.”


During his eight years in office, Ulman has replaced, improved or secured funding for renovations for every branch of the library system. He noted on Tuesday that he worked with community leaders, including Councilperson Jen Terrasa, to expand and improve an existing renovation plan for the Savage branch to make the building larger and more inviting, with more program space.


Howard County Library System (HCLS) President & CEO Valerie J. Gross notes, "We welcome students of all ages to experience the expanded, renovated and thoroughly updated HCLS Savage Branch & STEM Education Center. Every inch of this epicenter of learning, focuses on science and technology, distinguishing HCLS as a cutting edge educational institution for the future. In the new dedicated space for HiTech, our STEM education initiative, teens are invited to explore and engineer robots, hovercrafts, game apps\ and multimedia productions using the latest software and hardware. Come see how we are delivering the very best in education, 21st century style."


“These improvements speak to our quality of life and our commitment to education,” said Howard County Council Vice-chairperson Courtney Watson. “This renovation has doubled the size of the Savage Branch. It is a much more open and inviting space that emphasizes the idea of public education for patrons of all ages.”


“The ‘new’ Savage branch will serve as an environmentally-friendly model for new construction and future upgrades to all public buildings,” said Councilperson Terrasa, who represents the district that includes Savage.


The renovated library will now occupy 24,000 square feet, utilizing space that formerly housed a senior center and health department office. The branch houses 100,000 items – a brand new collection of materials – including books, audiobooks, e-books, films, music and specialized online research tools. The 51 computers available to the public represent a100 percent increase.


Additional features of the renovated Savage Branch are:


Three study rooms: Sally Ride Study Room, Benjamin Franklin Study Room and Jamie Escalante Study Room

  • Abacus Children’s Classroom and hiHouse: a children’s classroom with child sized entrance (the hiHouse) and windows overlooking a butterfly garden
  • Galileo Laptop Bar: a laptop counter overlooking the courtyard
  • Engineering Enclave: a dynamic space for teens with specialty seating and computers
  • HiTech Classroom: a dedicated classroom for HiTech, HCLS’ STEM education initiative for teens


Two outdoor classrooms:

  • Boulder Amphitheater + Classroom
  • Courtyard Classroom


The courtyard presents an environmental, ecological, functional and educational site design that includes:

  • Elevated water reservoir bioretention system (the reservoir collects the water runoff from the roof, channeling the water into a trough; the first trough allows students of all ages to follow its journey into a decorative trough before it returns to the water table)
  • Native habitat planting
  • Tree canopies that beautify the courtyard and parking areas while reducing surface heat, and enhance the customer experience by providing shady outdoor areas
  • Permeable paving
  • Outdoor classroom area
  • Outdoor seating
  • Spheres/sculptures


Stormwater Management features:

  • Bioretention basin at intersection of Gorman and Knights Bridge roads
  • Pervious paving parking strips
  • Landscape composed of plants native to the Chesapeake Bay region
  • Habitat for birds, pollinators, frogs, bats and other wildlife