Fairfax Campus Says Goodbye to Patriot Village
Posted: July 24, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By Dave Andrews
Widely appreciated by the student body for its secluded, social atmosphere, Patriot Village — a student housing community located behind the PE Building on the Fairfax Campus — is no longer a Mason fixture.
The module apartments were recently dismantled and hauled away after nearly 25 years of campus service. The few modules that remain will be used for administrative purposes.
According to Mason’s Office of Housing and Residence Life web site, Patriot Village offered a “unique housing option for students.” But to those who ventured into the wooded neighborhood, Patriot Village probably looked more like outdated, run-down motels. The neighborhood consisted of 17 modules and 100 suite-style housing units. At full occupancy — which was often the case — the community housed 226 upperclassmen.
Patriot Village when it was installed in 1984 . . .
Mason photo archives
. . . and shortly before dismantling.
Mason Gazette photo
“Patriot Village contributed to our goals of housing as many students as possible,” says Jana Hurley, executive director of Housing and Residence Life. “The fact that we’re finally able to move away from them is a statement of progress, not just in our ability to offer a high level of quality student housing, but progress for the university overall.”
When the units were put in place in the summer of 1984, they were intended to be somewhat temporary. But over time they became a seemingly permanent subdivision of the campus.
Plans to have them removed had been in the works for roughly 15 years, according to Hurley. “For as long as people can remember, every year was going to be the year they were going to take them down,” she says.
Although Patriot Village never had the most curb appeal on campus, the units were often filled to capacity because of their convenient location, ample space and relaxed atmosphere. Stray cats and roaming raccoons only added to the neighborhood’s mystique. But safety had long been a concern, as the modules had to be evacuated in times of severe weather.
“It’s kind of bittersweet because no matter how much on-campus housing a university has, there always seems to be a demand for more,” Hurley says. “But I definitely think Mason is progressing in the right direction.”
The improved housing infrastructure at Mason isn’t the only reason Patriot Village finally found its way onto the chopping block. A new road will soon be built close to where the units once stood, connecting Route 123 to the future Hotel and Conference Center. The road will also create direct access to Patriot Circle from Route 123.
Once the road is completed and opened to through traffic, planners anticipate the new entrance/exit to campus will reduce the amount of traffic turning left into campus on Braddock Road.
With the units finally removed, the area will be able to accommodate a 300-space resident parking lot that is expected to be in place for the next two years. Eventually, the space will be converted into additional athletic fields.
Four of the single-story trailers remain. One is being used by Athletics until the renovations to the PE Building are complete. Another is being used as storage for miscellaneous housing items. The other two will be used as areas to set up furnishings under consideration for housing purchases.
The two-story apartment building also remains. The first floor is being used by Athletics, while the second floor is currently unoccupied. Planners say these remnants of Patriot Village will remain in place “temporarily.”