Construction Planning for University Hall Under Way

Posted: November 13, 2009 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: November 12, 2009 at 5:23 pm

By Dave Andrews

UnivHallNW2In case you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a huge, new parking deck on the north side of the Fairfax Campus, the Rappahannock River Parking Deck. Not only was it built to accommodate the growing number of on-campus residents, but also to oblige the hundreds of faculty and staff members who will be relocating their offices to the new administration building, University Hall.

Many of University Hall’s administrative staff members will be coming from leased office space currently located off campus. The building was designed to have all of these institutional and administrative support functions located in one building to promote more inter-unit collaboration.

Construction is about to begin in Parking Lot G, right next door to the Rappahannock River Parking Deck. Lot G had about 250 parking spaces, but Rappahannock’s 2,650 spaces more than compensate for the loss.

The much-anticipated building will sit on the corner of University Drive and George Mason Boulevard, making it one of the most visible buildings on the Fairfax Campus. The building placement is specifically designed to save most of the large, mature trees along University Drive.

“[University Hall] will be an attractive building specially designed to bring outside natural light deep into the building from the courtyard side,” says Dave Roe, president of the GMU Foundation. “There are still many details to be finalized, but everyone is very excited for this project to break ground.”

UnivHallSE2Offices that will eventually call University Hall “home” include Human Resources and Payroll, Fiscal Services, Sponsored Programs, Tech Transfer, Equity, Legal Services, University Relations and Regional Campus Operations.

While the top four floors will be primarily multidepartmental administrative suites, the first floor will include approximately 9,800 square feet of academic classroom space and more than 7,800 square feet of retail space.

Many retailers are interested in the leasing space in the new building. However, Mason officials are currently discussing which ones will best add value to the campus community.

The space may include one full-service restaurant, the Apple Federal Credit Union (relocated from the Johnson Center) and a convenience store. The retail spaces will have indoor and outdoor accessibility, enabling them to function independently when the building itself is closed after normal business hours.

The main lobby will look out toward the building’s south plaza, facing the main campus. The plaza will provide outdoor seating with benches, tables and chairs. The landscaping around the building will include one area of open lawn as recreation space, and another area intended to be a quiet grove of trees and various plantings.

Construction is expected to be finished by summer 2011.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu