Faculty and Staff Members Begin Moving into Masonvale

Posted: September 14, 2009 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: September 11, 2009 at 5:10 pm

By Dave Andrews

President Alan Merten greets Masonvale resident David Anderson, the new Living Learning Community coordinator for the Honors College, and Lady Girl. Creative Services photo

President Alan Merten greets Masonvale resident David Anderson, the new Living Learning Community coordinator for the Honors College, and Lady Girl. Creative Services photo

When moving to a new home, one question must always be asked: How long will be my commute to work? Well, how does five minutes sound? Walking.

To many D.C.-area residents, that sounds like a dream commute. But it’s a reality for residents of the new Masonvale community – the faculty and staff development situated on 27 acres of the Fairfax Campus.

Masonvale’s primary function is to attract and retain top-notch faculty members at Mason. Rental rates are set at approximately 90 to 95 percent of market value to ease the sticker shock for newcomers looking for housing in the area.

The community is perfect for people like Denise Taylor, Mason’s new director of Housing and Residence Life. Taylor began working at Mason last February, though her family remained in New Orleans while her children finished the school year.

Taylor was living in temporary housing and flying back and forth to New Orleans on the weekends. Now that her family has moved to the area to join her, Taylor can begin the search for a home to purchase.

“This situation is ideal for someone like me who is new to the area, and it allows me to get a sense for the Fairfax area, affording us time to find the right home to buy,” Taylor says. “Plus, it’s comforting to know that my children are in a great school district.”

A Masonvale street. Creative Services photo

A Masonvale street. Creative Services photo

Taylor also says that “the commute is sweet,” though she admits she had been driving to work early on because of her preference for Starbucks coffee in the morning.

But now that the Starbucks is open in Northern Neck, Taylor jokes she will have no need to ever leave campus. “It’s all right here – Starbucks, work, home. All I need is a Wegmans [grocery store] on campus and I’d be set,” she says.

Taylor moved into her new three-bedroom Masonvale home about one month ago. Though people are still moving into the community, she says she’s already met many of her neighbors and they all agree that Masonvale is even more attractive than they had imagined.

“The concept of creating faculty housing certainly isn’t new within higher education,” says Tom Calhoun, vice president for facilities at Mason. “It’s fairly common among large, established universities; especially those in urban areas.”

He adds, “Masonvale significantly raises the image of Mason by appealing to a greater number of potential faculty members.”

Right now, the community consists of about 50 move-in ready townhomes and apartments, all featuring attractive amenities such as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and ceramic tile floors.

By this time next year, Masonvale will have grown to 155 units. The construction of the homes follows a staggered timeline throughout the upcoming year to ensure full occupancy and continual turnover.

Tenants are selected through a university priority system. First priority is given to new tenure, tenure-track or research faculty.

For more information on the Masonvale community and home availability, go to the Masonvale web site, or call 866-957-9104.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu