Case Study: University of Maryland College Park

In Blog, Wood is Good by Morgan Dix

Summary: This University of Maryland furniture case study profiles the furnishings still in use after 35 years at UMD. Thanks to the sustainability and durability of solid hardwood, in addition to a savvy and well thought out management plan, that same furniture is still in use at College Park.

Case Study: University of Maryland College Park

Project Location: College Park, MD

Dates: 1985-Present

Building Type: Residence Halls

Project Team: UMD, DCI,Inc.

Product List: Bed, Study Desk, Carrel, Five Drawer Dresser, Three Drawer Dresser, Adjustable Height Bed

University of Maryland College Park

The University of MarylandUMD College Park was founded in 1856 as the Maryland Agricultural College on 1,339 acres located just a few miles from Washington, DC in the city of College Park.

Among the top public research universities—ranked 22nd nationally and 50th globally by U.S. New & World Report—UMD is considered a prestigious Public Ivy. The school has an endowment of more than half a billion USD and an annual budget of $2.1B.

UMB educates nearly 40k students annually with 28.5k undergrads and 10.5k postgrads. The esteemed faculty at UMB includes two Pulitzer Prize winners, three Nobel laureates, 60 national academies members and scores of Fulbright scholars.

As a preeminent research institution located near the United States capital, UMD conducts leading research in an array of strategically significant fields including: cybersecurity and terrorism, bioengineering, public health equity, food safety, and climate change.

The school is also a NCAA Division 1 athletics powerhouse, with 550 student-athletes competing in 19 intercollegiate sports. Over the last 15 years, UMD has won 16 national championships.

Sustainability at UMD

And when it comes to our favorite topic—sustainability—UMD is a genuine leader with an extensive program that touches almost every part of student life and study.

Starting at the highest level of the school, the university president, Dan Mote, was a charter signatory of the American College and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

His goal? Achieving total campus climate neutrality by 2050.

And the school has made steady progress. According to UMD’s president, the school Reduced carbon emissions 27% over 10 years from 2008 signing to 2017 despite expanding 11% over the same time.

UMB has an established Office of Sustainability, which among other things, administers the campus Climate Action Plan. Here are a few of the school’s sustainability highlights:

  • All new constructions and major renovations must satisfy LEED-Silver certification requirements.
  • Power Shift, a national youth climate activism summit, was held at the University of Maryland in November 2007 with 6,000 individuals in attendance.
  • Several school buildings are powered in part by roof-mounted solar panels.
  • The Office of Sustainability began “The Chesapeake Project” in 2009, in which professors integrate sustainability education into pre-existing classes across every discipline. Since 2009, 71 professors have participated in the program, implementing sustainability education into over 80 courses across all 12 colleges at the school.
  • In 2011, Maryland’s team won the Solar Decathlon, a competition put on by the U.S. Department of Energy. In the 2017 Solar Decathlon, the University of Maryland’s team won 1st place in the U.S. and 2nd place in the world.

Process & Approach

The University of Maryland was one of DCI’s first partners in the higher education market. We have worked with them over the last 35 years through multiple contracts.

And here’s the remarkable part of our journey with UMD. They are still using the original furniture we installed in their residence halls over three decades ago!

So how does that work and how did it all begin?

Detailed University of Maryland Furniture Spec

When we first started working with UMD, they had the most detailed furniture spec we’ve ever encountered down to the type of screws and components we needed to use.

The school insisted that we make the furniture to their exacting specification. At the time, had to buy their furniture from a state agency—Maryland Correctional Enterprises. Because of the detailed nature of their specification, they were free from that mandate.

DCI won the contract because we were the only company in the marketplace who could meet their precise spec. Today, UMD is still using the furniture we installed over 30 years ago.

Sustainable, Durable, Well Maintained

university of maryland furniture

The secret behind our super long-lasting University of Maryland furniture is manifold.

First, we design and craft our solid hardwood to last for decades. To date, our furniture is performing after 35 years of constant use at UMD.

Second, we created a maintenance program to ensure the longevity of the product. UMD buys replacement drawers and tops to manage any deteriorating items.

In terms of the furniture itself, it includes 5/8in thick solid wood drawer sides and laminate tops. It also features internal edge banding, mortise and tenon joinery with glue, and low root thread screws with a very aggressive thread.

By weight the furniture is approximately 95% solid wood content.

We love this story, because UMD was one of our very first higher education partners and we’re proud that our furniture is still serving them after all this time.