D.C. Zoning Commission Approves New Building for SPHHS

August 22, 2011

rendering of the exterior of the School of Public Health & Health Policy building from Washington Circle

When it granted approval last month of GW’s School of Public Health and Health Services project, the D.C. Zoning Commission highlighted the positive work between the university and the community on developing the proposal.

“The unanimous bench decision from the Zoning Commission reflects the extensive multiyear outreach GW undertook to ensure neighborhood comments and concerns were reflected in the design of this building,” said Alicia Knight, GW senior associate vice president for operations. “We look forward to continuing this collaboration as the project proceeds.”

The Zoning Commission’s approval allows for second-stage planned unit development of Square 39, which is located on Washington Circle at K Street, 24th Street and New Hampshire Avenue.

The Zoning Commission’s vote concluded a multiyear planning process for the more than 115,000-square-foot building, which will feature state-of-the-art classrooms, departmental office space, conference rooms and a convening center. The SPHHS building will be the first university facility visible to visitors approaching the campus on Pennsylvania Avenue from the west.

“We are excited to have gone through the approval process so we can now move on to the next phase of design, building and construction,” said Lynn Goldman, SPHHS dean. “When completed, the new building will include state-of-the-art learning and teaching space for students and faculty to share ideas and work collaboratively with local, regional, international and national leaders of government and nonprofit institutions.”

The building, anticipated to open in the spring 2014 semester, will serve as a consolidated home for most of the faculty, students and staff of SPHHS for the first time in the 14-year history of the school. The school, which is currently spread out across eight locations, has about 1,000 students. The site is currently home to a three-story structure known as the Warwick Building, which contains various clinical, academic and administrative programs of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the GW Hospital.

Current plans are also targeting at least a silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, and the university plans to expand the existing public park at the intersection of 24th Street and New Hampshire Avenue.

The estimated cost of the facility is $75 million, which will be financed by a combination of fundraising, debt (funded by SPHHS operations) and reserve funds.