Enhancing Academic Life

Steven Lerman, Steven Knapp and Rachelle Heller look over renovation plans
Provost Steven Lerman, President Steven Knapp and Associate Provost for the Mount Vernon Campus Rachelle Heller look over renovation plans for Ames Hall.
July 18, 2011

President Steven Knapp and Provost Steven Lerman joined more than 100 construction workers and GW employees July 13 on GW’s Mount Vernon Campus to celebrate a milestone reached in the renovation and expansion of Ames Hall.

Dr. Knapp and Dr. Lerman, along with Associate Provost for the Mount Vernon Campus Rachelle Heller, met with members of Donohoe Construction Company and Quinn Evans Architects to honor the completion of Ames Hall’s external structure with a lunch and tour of the project site.

Dr. Knapp said the additions and enhancements to the building—which include more academic and study space— will help make the campus a more “integral” part of the university.

“We’re going to have a number of classrooms with some of the best views in the country when it comes to academic space, so I think it’s going to be a handsome addition to the university,” he said.

Formerly used for campus life and student support space such as the campus dining hall, this new project will incorporate academic classrooms, informal student gathering spaces, faculty offices and departmental spaces for the University Writing Program and University Police Department. Each classroom will be outfitted with the new technology, and “breakout areas” with glass walls will provide additional gathering and study space for students, including an overlook of the adjacent softball field. There will also be a new “grab and go” eatery to complement the full service dining options in West Hall.

The building’s design incorporates modern sustainable design principles and practices, targeted for silver level certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The building is expected to be completed in late fall and begin hosting classes in spring 2012.

Dr. Lerman said the Ames Hall’s new look will be consistent with the other buildings on the campus and will provide a lot of “light and access” to those who use it.

“With Ames Hall, we’ll be able to expand the academic presence here on campus in a way that will enhance all the activities going on at GW,” he said.

Renovations to Ames Hall are the latest enhancements to the Mount Vernon Campus since the opening of West Hall, GW’s newest residence hall, last fall. West Hall features more than 60 suites, a fitness center, dining hall, dance studio, studio art room and a black box theater.

Dr. Heller said the new Ames Hall will be a “game changer” for the campus. “It’s going to center campus life on the quad, which is the academic heart of the campus,” she said.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she added. “It’s going to make the beautiful Mount Vernon Campus even more beautiful.”

Steve Donohoe, president of Donohoe Construction Company, said the celebration was a way to thank the construction staff and to share their progress with the university. Donohoe Construction Company and GW also partnered on the construction of West Hall.

“We always try to do a celebration when the structure is in place to thank workers for what has been done and to encourage them that we’ve still got to get to the finish line,” said Mr. Donohoe. “Sharing our celebration with our design team and partners from GW is always a good investment.”

Student Life