Updates on Corcoran Renovation, Historic Preservation Application

Meeting with students, faculty and staff addresses phases for 17th Street building plan.

17th Street building will get upgrades in phases starting this year.
March 04, 2015
The George Washington University convened a meeting Monday to discuss plans for renovating the 17th Street building, where Corcoran classroom and study spaces are currently located. 
GW received the building as part of its arts agreements with the Corcoran last summer and is currently working on a phased renovation plan to make necessary updates and expand classroom space.
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Teresa Murphy led the meeting, explaining that the university will accommodate programs from the former Corcoran College’s Fillmore building into the 17th Street building. GW plans to sell the Fillmore building in the upcoming year, and recently announced that TTR Sotheby’s International Realty will serve as the building’s exclusive listing agent.
Dr. Murphy also shared that the Corcoran’s interior design program will likely be on the Mount Vernon Campus in fall 2015, but eventually will move to the 17th Street building. While no other decisions have been made regarding other Corcoran graduate programs, she said the university’s goal is to have all Corcoran graduate programs consolidated in the 17th Street building.  
David Dent, executive director of planning, development and construction at GW, explained that the Division of Operations is close to selecting an architect to guide the 17th Street building renovations. An announcement of the architect is expected in the coming weeks, after which the team will select a project construction manager.
Mr. Dent also shared “test fit” ideas from recent programming efforts with Corcoran students and faculty to show how the education programs might fit in the renovated 17th Street building. However, he emphasized that there are no final design plans for the space—the university will organize working groups with members of the Corcoran community to gather input that will be integrated into the design process. 
“These working groups will identify programmatic needs and expectations for the building,” Mr. Dent said.
Upgrades to the parts of the 17th Street building’s envelope and infrastructure will be made this year while the design process is finalized. Mr. Dent said renovations will take place in phases in order to minimize disruptions to academic programs in the building —a key priority for his team, he said.
 Deputy General Counsel Charles Barber also provided an update on an upcoming D.C. Historic Preservation Board hearing on March 26, during which the board will consider an application from Save the Corcoran and the D.C. Preservation League to designate parts of the interior of the 17th Street building as historic. 
Mr. Barber said the university is committed to preserving the building’s key historical elements while also maintaining the flexibility needed to retrofit certain spaces to more effectively serve the needs of the arts education program. University representatives will present this approach to the D.C. Historic Preservation Board at the hearing. 
Mr. Dent added that the approach to the building renovation plan depends on the results of this hearing.