Movers Complete Founders Hall Office Relocation

Posted: January 24, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: January 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm

By Dave Andrews

Photo by Evan Cantwell

The recent completion of the Arlington Campus’s Founders Hall gives the university a prominent trophy piece that catches the eye of even the most oblivious pedestrian and represents a new milestone for Mason inside the beltway.

For years, the space was nothing more than a parking lot. That parking lot then became an enormous and seemingly bottomless crater in which the Founders Hall underground parking garage would be built. But now, seven stories of modern architecture tower over Fairfax Drive in the heart of Arlington, Va.

“It couldn’t be more different from the Original Building, which, as a former department store, could sometimes feel dark and cavernous,” says Ann Baker, senior associate dean for the School of Public Policy. “Having a building built specifically for the purpose of higher education, with a bright, open floor plan, makes this much more inviting and comfortable.”

Founders Hall is the product of more than six years of planning, designing and building. It boasts a 300-seat multipurpose auditorium, 438-seat library, 450-space parking garage, 35 classrooms and 256,000 square feet of office space.

Law students Thomas Parisi and Lauren Mee settle in. Photo by Evan Cantwell

“It’s one of those very rare instances in my professional life when every person seems to be happy with their new space,” Baker says. “Things are a little chaotic at times, of course, with the amount of unpacking still to be done. Any kind of a move of this size will have an impact. But our moving team in Facilities made the process as painless as it could have been.”

The building primarily houses the School of Public Policy. It also provides space for many other administrative offices, such as Enrollment Services (Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid), Events Management, Facilities Management, ITU, Parking Services, the School of Law, Student Health Services, University Life and University Services.

All offices, with the exception Key Control and Print Services, have completed the move-in.

The majority of the departments relocated from the Original Building (originally a Kann’s department store), which is in the process of decommissioning. Other departments came from the Finley Building on the Fairfax Campus, Hazel Hall and the Truland Building.  Many of those that remain in the Original Building will soon relocate into vacated space in Truland.

The Kellar Institute for Human DisAbilities and the Special Education Program will be moving into Finley.  Law School research and student organizations will move out of Truland and into Hazel Hall. Internal office moves within Truland will bring separated units together on one floor.

According to Baker, the office reorganization under way on the Arlington Campus will strengthen ties across various units and make general operations much easier.

“The faculty [in SPP] have not all been on the same campus since the early ‘90s,” Baker says. “Now we’re all together in one building, and we’re seeing each other and interacting with one another so much more than we have in a long time, which will prove to be effective as we grow and work together.”

Founders Hall represents yet another phase of redevelopment on the Arlington Campus. The next phase includes the eventual replacement of the Original Building with a new building that would provide 750,000 square feet of academic and office space.

Building Layout:

Floors 5-7: School of Public Policy

Floor 4: Mercatus Center, classrooms

Floor 3: Library, classrooms

Floor 2: Library, Einstein Bagels, Mason Money, Parking Services, University Life, University Operations, Key Control, classrooms

Floor 1: Auditorium, information desk, bookstore

B1: Facilities, Health, desktop support, ITU, Print Services

Parking:

Mason employees and students can purchase a Founders Hall garage permit (deck rate) or purchase a general permit for Truland Building or Foundation Building garages. Mason employees from other campuses can still request an “Arlington Admin” permit from Parking Services, giving access to the designated admin spaces on the top level of Truland.

Currently there is no visitor parking at Founders Hall, though Parking Services hopes to create visitor parking in the near future. Parking for visitors would be limited Monday through Thursday to ensure enough space for permit holders. Offices can make special event requests to allow more visitors to use the garage on those days. Parking Services will issue more detailed information.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu