A Relationship That Goes Beyond the Jobsite Fencing


A university with a vision for the future and a construction company with a passion for innovation: that’s Barton Malow’s partnership with Morgan State University in a nutshell.

For the past 15 years, Barton Malow has been building on the historically Black university’s campus in Baltimore, Maryland. The partnership is a driving force behind some of the most groundbreaking projects in the university’s 150+ year history, with each development increasing in scope and pushing the limits of higher education construction.

Barton Malow established its Baltimore office in 1989, but it wasn’t until the early 2010s that the construction firm broke ground on Morgan State’s campus. That first project — the Center for Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies (CBEIS) — paved the way for a partnership that would go beyond the jobsite and into the classroom.

A Living Classroom

Barton Malow doesn’t just build the facilities that foster learning and growth — it participates in the education process as well. During the construction of the CBEIS building, Morgan State University was developing a construction management program that launched in 2010.

“We’re able to make our projects a living classroom,” says Barton Malow Vice President Ben Morgan, who is a member of the advisory board and a part-time lecturer for the program. “We’re bringing students [on site] and having them see what they’re learning in class from a different perspective. That’s really the thing that excites me.”

Dr. Lewis Waller, Chairperson of Morgan State’s Construction Management program, echoes that excitement.

“The most unique thing about this partnership is we get an opportunity to allow our [first year] students to meet individuals who are working in the industry,” he said on an episode of Barton Malow’s Said Differently – Beyond the Build podcast.

Barton Malow LEAPS Construction Management Interns from Morgan State

Barton Malow LEAPS interns touring the Calvin and Tina Tyler Hall Student Services Building construction site in 2019

Many team members in Barton Malow’s Baltimore office are Morgan State alums, and some have gone back to be guest speakers about their day-to-day work and the different career paths available in the industry. What started as a five-class curriculum has built its way up to nearly 10 courses.

Both Ben and Dr. Waller share an affinity for CBEIS, the 124,000 SF facility that’s home to the Schools of Architecture and Planning, Civil Engineering, Transportation Studies, and the National Transportation Center. The building has won multiple awards on account of its technology and sustainability practices, including a LEED Gold certification.

"We're bringing students [on site] and having them see what they're learning in class from a different perspective. That’s really the thing that excites me."

Ben Morgan

Barton Malow Vice President

Like a Good Neighbor

Barton Malow is no stranger to building on active campuses, and Morgan State’s is no different. “We have to remember we’re invited guests,” Ben says. “The safety of the students and faculty is the number one priority.”

For the project delivery team, that means striking a balance and maintaining respect for the students, faculty, and neighboring community.

“When we’re parking, we make sure we’re not parking in the students or faculty parking spaces. When we’re excavating, we make sure to clean the dirt and debris off the street,” Ben explains. “During exam week, we must monitor when we’re going to do noisy activities and when we can’t.”

However, exam week isn’t the only time workers are mindful of noise. Morgan State’s campus sprawls across 143 acres, much of it just a parking lot away from residential neighborhoods. Both Barton Malow and the university are conscious of this to minimize disruptions.

Take the Martin D. Jenkins Hall project (also known as the Behavioral and Social Sciences Center [BSSC]), for example. Completed in 2017, this 137,000 SF building is located on the southwest corner of campus and is surrounded by residential homes and a major thoroughfare. During construction, Barton Malow was mindful of the work being done in the morning and evenings.

Aerial view of Morgan State University's campus and some of the construction projects Barton Malow has worked on

Martin D. Jenkins Hall Behavioral and Social Sciences Center (BSSC) and its surrounding residential neighborhood

Home to Morgan State’s departments of Economics, History and Geography, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology, and Political Science, the BSSC includes classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, a 170-seat auditorium, a high-tech maker space with 3D virtual reality computers, and a stunning atrium with common spaces in which students can gather.

With each new project comes a staggering jump in complexity. The Calvin and Tina Tyler Hall Student Services Building is a feat of engineering and architecture with its curved exterior. Like CBEIS, it’s LEED Gold certified with a plethora of sustainable features, like its third-floor terrace complete with native plant species or the light-colored roofing materials used to minimize any heat island effect.

Barton Malow is currently building the Health and Human Services Center, a 204,000 SF academic building that’s one of the largest construction undertakings in Morgan State’s history. The facility will provide a new environment for groundbreaking research and experiential learning, equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, simulation rooms, classrooms, and collaborative spaces. It’s slated for completion in April 2024.

“At the end of the day, our job is to build a building. However, the successful completion of each building allows us to keep strengthening that partnership. Every project is a new chance to improve and learn from each other,” says Ben. “Barton Malow is excited to continue supporting Morgan State’s goals so they can continue to turn out great minds for this industry.”

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