BY HANNAH HYAT
DOWNTOWN – Salisbury University opened the doors to its brand new Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative’s (ESRGC) facility, in the city plaza.
The ESRGC is the second major effort the University has taken to boost its presence downtown. The new building can be located in the former Plaza Gallery Building at 212 Main St.
President Charles A. Wight expressed his excitement for the city and University to be working alongside one another, as well as the opportunities which he hopes to see through the partnership.
“Community partnerships are important to the University and the ESRGC’s move makes good sense. Many of its clients are government agencies and downtown provides a centralized and convenient meeting location; the new offices have much-needed space for staff to work with clients,” said Wight. “It offers our student interns the kind of professional environment they will experience in their careers. The ESRGC is important to Maryland and our region, and its services dovetail nicely with the City of Salisbury’s effort to revitalize downtown.”
City Council Representative Jack Heath described a mutual feeling.
“The relationship between SU and the city has definitely grown through the years,” Heath said. “Look around, this is why things are successful, look at the people around here, who are involved and who care. We thank everyone who came today and we hope this is another step in our long road of association together.”
Wight was accompanied by the Interim Dean of SU’s Richard A. Henson School of Science, Dr. Michael Scott, Director Karen Olmsted and Heath to cut into the new faculty.
“I love the ESRGC. GIS stands for geographic information system,” Wight said. “They are the people who make maps, they make maps of everything and those maps help people make decisions, so what you should take away is that ESRGC stands for partnership.”
The ESRGC has worked on over 100 projects and has earned over $7 million in grants since it was created in 2004.
Scott expressed his satisfaction with the program’s growth.
“It is amazing to think about how the center has grown from one employee working out of the corner of a research lab in Henson Science Hall back 14 years ago,” Scott said.
Today, their team includes 10 full-time staff and three SU interns.
Projects the organization has completed include Chesapeake Bay critical area boundary mapping, county flood vulnerability analyses, National Wetland Inventory updates for coastal Georgia, housing quality surveys and mobile apps.
The 2,400-square-foot center features a new a conference room, a 65-inch teleconferencing monitor, individual offices, a lab for multiple stand-up desk workstations and a reception area.
Geography student John Hart is especially excited for the new resources.
“I’m excited about this faculty because it’s very useful for my major,” Hart said. “I can’t wait to check it out.”
The ESRGC is a collaboration between SU, the Mid-Shore Regional Council and the Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.
The next project for the University is made possible by a $5 million private gift and slated to open in 2020.
Featured photo by Hannah Hyat