I am writing to follow up on the September 30, 2013, memo from AU Board of Trustees chair Jeff Sine, in which he reported that the board authorized the detailed planning and construction process to proceed on the East Campus. He indicated that the board also authorized planning to begin on the design for new uses of 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, which the Washington College of Law will vacate in summer 2015 when they move to their new home, now under construction on the Tenley Campus.
Following the successful construction of Cassell Hall, the addition to Nebraska Hall, and the impending opening of a renovated home for the School of Communication in the McKinley Building, these are the latest in a sequence of projects that will transform AU’s physical plant. Consistent with the approved 2011 AU Campus Plan, we will develop more than one million square feet of new or renovated space. These capital projects will accomplish many of our facilities goals, such as housing 67 percent of our undergraduate students while enabling our academic programs to reach their ambitious aspirations in our 10-year strategic plan.
By fall 2016, we will open three new residence halls, adding 590 new beds for undergraduate students. Two more buildings (formerly referred to as buildings four and six) will be consolidated to house academic innovations and administrative services. In particular, East Campus will house the departments of mathematics and statistics, computer science, and physics along with the new program in progressive gaming—providing a natural venue for cross-unit collaborations in the areas of technology, discovery, and creativity. State-of-the-art learning spaces and classrooms will be located in proximity to the academic units with the potential to showcase AU's teaching and learning. The new facility will be a site that encourages new approaches to learning emphasizing quantitative and analytics skills.
In addition, Public Safety’s offices and operations also will be located on East Campus. A sixth building approved in the campus plan, intended primarily to provide more administrative space and a larger admissions welcome center, will be built on an alternate schedule at a later date, allowing planning and resources to focus on the more critical academic and residential priorities. The infrastructure to support the sixth building will be included in the current construction, so that when work on the building does commence, it will be efficient and less intrusive.
4801 Massachusetts Avenue
The plan for renovating and occupying this facility will be consistent with its current use by the Washington College of Law, providing professional education and serving administrative functions. Now that we have broken ground on the Tenley Campus and are confident that the schedule will allow WCL to move prior to the fall 2015 semester, we will begin concept design and assess the fit for various functions at 4801 Massachusetts Avenue. More details will follow as the design and assessment work evolves.
I will update the community in the coming months as the planning continues on these major projects, as the design and program takes shape, and as AU continues its significant academic and facilities transformation.
AU's strategic plan, Leadership for a Changing World, outlines goals and objectives for the next decade at American University. Visit american.edu/strategicplan for more information. (myAU.american.edu login required for some documents)