Town Hall Meeting Addresses Campus Construction Concerns

Posted: June 5, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: June 5, 2009 at 8:01 am

By Dave Andrews

Many changes are taking place this summer along Aquia Creek Lane (formerly George Mason Boulevard, the road that runs between Thompson Hall and the Johnson Center circle) on the Fairfax Campus. And with every change comes multiple questions.

Last week, Mason Facilities Management hosted a town hall meeting in the Johnson Center Cinema to give attendees detailed information about upcoming construction projects and address their concerns directly.

Beginning this month, Aquia Creek Lane — which is usually a thoroughfare for service vehicles, pick-up/drop-off passenger autos and Mason Pond Parking Deck patrons — will be indefinitely limited to parking deck permit holders only. Pedestrian pathways and building access points will also go through adjustment stages.

This map shows the areas of construction along Aquia Creek Lane.

This map shows the areas of construction along Aquia Creek Lane on the Fairfax Campus. The structures in orange are the new data center/swing space, the addition to Student Union Building I, and the addition to the Performing Arts Building.

These adjustments are the result of three projects already in progress: the Aquia Building (data center and swing space), the Center for Student Success (addition to Student Union Building I) and the de Laski Performing Arts Building (addition).

Once the buildings are completed, the new amenities they offer should erase any memories of construction-related inconveniences. But in the meantime, there are challenges.

Possibly the biggest challenge will be controlling traffic. Construction vehicles will have to share the already limited road space with delivery vehicles and Mason Pond Parking Deck permit holders. Transportation officials have said they plan to keep the area closely monitored with parking staff and well equipped with signs to keep Aquia Creek Lane free of all other traffic.

Pedestrian walkways and access to SUB I were discussed in detail during the town hall meeting. Mason Facilities Management assures that all precautions have been taken, all walkways will meet ADA requirements and the area will be well marked with signage.

The prospect of noisy construction was also a concern, particularly for Mason staff members who will continue working in SUB I during much of the construction and renovation stages. Though noise disruptions are expected to be minimal, contractors assert they will conduct the louder construction during evening hours and on weekends.

The design for the new Center for Student Success addition to Student Union Building I.

The design for the new Center for Student Success addition to SUB I.

Both the Aquia Building and the Performing Arts Building are expected to be completed by summer 2010. The Aquia Building will centralize many Information Technology Unit offices, relocate the data center from Thompson Hall, and add swing space and multipurpose rooms. The addition to the Performing Arts Building will include dance and percussion studios, as well as an orchestra and band rehearsal hall.

Construction on the Center for Student Success will be even more extensive, with completion expected in the spring of 2011. This addition to SUB I will bring together all enrollment services, making the building a one-stop destination for all new students. It will also house the offices for Academic and Career Services.

Further updates will be announced as soon as they become available. Information can also be found on the Building Patriot Pride web site, as well as the Parking Services web site.

If you have specific questions, contact the Office of Parking and Transportation at 703-993-2710.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu