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  • Richard Smith

CCBC Essex Wellness and Athletics Center - CCBC Essex Knights


Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57

CCBC Essex Wellness and Athletics Center

7201 Rossville Blvd

Baltimore, MD 21237


CCBC Essex Knights website CCBC Essex Wellness and Athletics Center website

Year Opened: 1972 Capacity: n/a

 

A Knight At The Gym

One of the largest colleges in Maryland is largely unknown outside of the area. The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) has an annual enrollment of greater than 72,000 students. Created in the 1990s by a merger of Essex Community College, Dundalk Community College, and Catonsville Community, the new college kept each of those three main campuses, along with a bevy of extension campuses around the suburban Baltimore area. The three colleges shared a common board of trustees for years but operated independently. Essex, Dundalk, and Catonsville have each kept their own distinct athletic identity.


CCBC Essex began in 1957, operating out of nearby Kenwood High School. CCBC Essex has one of the top-rated associate nursing programs in the region.


The school mascot is the Knights and they play nine sports. Essex has won nine NJCAA national championships including the 2004 Men’s Lacrosse Championship. They are a member of Region XX of the National Junior College Athletic Association and the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference, CCBC Essex has had over 100 NJCAA All-Americans.


The basketball program runs out of the Wellness & Athletic Center (WELL). There is only a women’s team currently. In 2022 advanced to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament Quarterfinals while eventually losing to the eventual second-place team of Morton College. The Knights did win the NJCAA DII Women's Basketball Championship 3rd Place Game.


Major renovation of the Wellness and Athletics Center started in 2022. We did not see that the arena and basketball floor are getting remodeled, but there are chances that overall enhancement also makes some changes to this area. According to CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis, “The planned renovations for the Wellness and Athletic Center will truly enhance the overall experience for anyone who steps into this facility. Not only will the building be more aesthetically pleasing, but it will also be a more functional learning space for students.”


An 8,000-square-foot, $16.8 million project, the addition will be attached to the building for a new fitness center, announced CCBC-Essex, to go with plans to build two large dance studios with changing space, faculty offices, and a restroom that will materialize after renovating about 6,500 square feet on the existing mezzanine level.


Food & Beverage 1

There are no food options except for some snack machines. Signs say food is not allowed in the venue, although no one seems to check that.


Atmosphere 1

There is not much else in terms of the atmosphere at the WELL. There are some simple PA announcements and some music played from a small speaker.


The basketball court is a rubberized surface and not the preferred hardwood court. The court sits at the center of the arena, with even the small grandstands floating out inside the venue’s running court. There is a very large amount of extra space around the basketball floor.


One of the stands is larger than the others. The smaller set of stands seems to serve as the visiting team stands and is strangely located behind the scorer's table and benches. It almost seems to not belong.


Neighborhood 3

CCBC Essex is a suburban community college with its main neighbor being the sprawling Franklin Square Hospital. You will have to venture a bit far from campus for any food or drinks.


Closest to campus is the neighborhood Dellis’ Restaurant Bar & Grill. There will be some other options around this area that are referred to as Golden Ring.


One of my favorites is Pizza John which is a bit further away in Middle River. This extremely popular pizza joint has some pretty good, albeit a bit greasy pizza. And greasy does not equate to being a bad thing. Just expect very large crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.


White Marsh Mall and the area around it are not too far away as well. There are numerous options around that area. Red Brick Station Restaurant & Brew Pub is a very good restaurant on the Avenue at White Marsh. Also, look at Ledo’s Pizza near the Lowe’s store. Their square pizza is very good, and a pretty good value. Mission BBQ is another great option. This small BBQ chain is quite impressive and honors the veterans of America as part of its design.


Fans 2

The attendees at most games are family members or other athletes. There may be a few residents who attend the games.


Access 4

CCBC Essex is located just off of both the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) and I-95. The quickest and best way to access campus is to exit off I-695 at either the Philadelphia Road or US-40 exit and find your way east to Rossville Boulevard. Directions should be easy to follow but also follow signs for Franklin Square Hospital.


There is plenty of free parking on the campus. If classes are in session you may expect to park a bit further away from campus. Because of current construction, you should try to enter from Lot 2 towards the hospital.


Return on Investment 5

The games are free to attend. That, along with the free parking, means that you can attend a good-level JUCO program at no cost.

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Extras 2

There are a few plaques around the little park-like setting of the athletic fields that honor student-athletes from Essex that has passed away.


Walk around campus and see the solar panels that have been added to many parking areas on campus. All of the CCBC campuses have added these and expect to get more than a quarter of their electricity from solar. This 5.1-megawatt project is expected to generate 6.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year and joins the 16.1-megawatt array at Mount St. Mary’s University in an effort by local colleges to expand solar usage.


Final Thoughts

The CCBC Essex Wellness and Athletics Center serve as a decent venue for intramural sports and classes, but currently, it is a strange venue for any level of intercollegiate sports. Hopefully, the venue will be better after construction finishes.

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