The University of Maryland Baltimore County has broken ground on a $170 million performing arts and humanities building that will be the Catonsville school’s largest building to date, the school recently announced. “We have vibrant arts and humanities here that don’t have as high a visibility as science and engineering,” UMBC spokesman Thomas Moore said in a statement. “We’re hoping this will provide an opportunity for people to get to know us better.”?

The school, known for its computer science and engineering programs, hopes to increase recognition with the new building and encourage more performances and lectures. ?The 167,000-square- foot building will open in two phases, first with the department of theater and English in 2010 and then with the Dresher Center for the Humanities, which is slated to open in 2016. ?

“We’re confident that every student who begins here will end up taking classes in this building,” Moore says. “It’s a building that will touch of the lives of every student.”?Most funding will come from the state’s capital budget.