Creating a World-Class Science and Engineering Facility

The university has completed initial architecture and engineering work for a building to be dedicated to science and engineering learning and discovery.

June 28, 2010

GW released a report today outlining the size and scope of the university’s proposed new science and engineering complex.

The report, completed by Philadelphia-based Ballinger Architects, envisions an eight-story building of approximately 400,000 square feet above grade. In addition, the building will feature two levels of below-grade program space, and four levels of parking below ground – nearly doubling the amount of space dedicated to science and engineering disciplines to a total of approximately 290,000 net assignable square feet. A typical floor would combine research areas with area for teaching and breakout spaces.

To foster research and learning in the sciences and engineering, GW announced last year plans to build a state-of-the-art complex in the heart of the Foggy Bottom Campus.

“This is more than a building,” says Nelson Carbonell, B.S. '85, vice chair of GW’s Board of Trustees. “This is really about something bigger and more significant in our history that will greatly affect our standing as an institution. This new endeavor would put GW in a completely different position 10 years from now, impacting the students and faculty we can recruit, the discoveries they can make, and the funding and partnerships we can attract to George Washington.”

Pending approval by the Board of Trustees, which votes on the project at its October meeting, the university anticipates breaking ground on the complex in 2011, and has selected Ballinger Architects, with local partner Hickok Cole Architects, as architects for the facility and Clark Construction as pre-construction consulting contractor.

The complex, slated to be located on the site of the University Parking Garage, would house classrooms and research laboratories for faculty and students in GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering and Applied Science. It would also include a retail venue on the ground floor along Eye Street and 300 to 400 below-grade parking spaces.

Ballinger Architects developed the feasibility study for benchmarking and programming as well as preliminary architectural design for the complex. The six-month study included input from a wide range of faculty members, deans, administrators, staff and students.

“I'm impressed by the way the deans and the faculty have been approaching this project,” says GW President Steven Knapp. “There is an emphasis on innovation and collaboration that would make this center, if these plans are approved by the board, not only an extraordinary place to do research but an exciting place for our students to work with faculty and experience the thrill of discovery.”

Sustainability is a critical component of the programming and design for the complex. A committee of faculty, alumni and students has been working to identify sustainability goals for the project.

Preliminary cost estimates will be completed and made public at the October Board of Trustees meeting. The three primary funding sources for the complex are revenue from Square 54 lease payments, federal reimbursement for grants and contracts supporting faculty research, and fundraising.

“Scientific discovery drives progress in almost every aspect of life in the 21st century,” says Donald R. Lehman, executive vice president for academic affairs. “The new science and engineering complex will cement GW’s position in the vanguard of institutions of higher education. It will also have a positive effect throughout the GW community, stimulating interdisciplinary thought and initiatives as well as opening up space for classrooms and offices across campus.”