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Featured Project:

New Student Center at the University of the District of Columbia,
Van Ness Campus

Featured Project - New Student Center at UDC Van Ness Campus

The University of the District of Columbia's new Student Center is the centerpiece of a ten-year, master plan to complete a campus-wide of the Van Ness campus. At 96,000 sq. ft., this targeted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum building is a historic and comprehensive combination of 78,000 sq. ft of new construction and 18,000 sq. ft of renovated space for the District's only public university.

Key Design Features:

  • A national model of energy sustainability
  • Incorporates green initiatives, promotes sustainability, and leaves small carbon footprints on the environment
  • Includes multi story atriums, welcoming natural daylight both in the middle of the student center and the upper plaza
  • A 14,000 sq. ft. green roof
  • A wedge-shaped rain garden which resembles a small park, and aids in filtering storm water through an underground treatment system
  • A water treatment system which mitigates the amount and monitors the quality of water entering the city's drainage system

The new student center will have program elements that will enhance student life, welcome people to our campus, elevate the University's profile and further enrich our relationship with the surrounding community.

Key Interior Spaces:

  • New Dining Area
  • Fitness Center
  • Ballroom; which will provide a mixed-use space to address both University and community needs
  • Student-focused Spaces
  • Community Support Areas

This blend of student-focused spaces and community support areas will result in the building serving as an iconic representation of how the campus is a link between its students, faculty, staff and its District neighbors.


New Student Center Schedule

PhaseStart/Completion DatePercent Complete %
PreconstructionWinter 2010 / Winter 2013100%
ConstructionSpring 2013 / Summer 201560%
Close outFall 2015 / Winter 20150%

New Student Center Projected Milestones

Building EnclosureApril 2015
Substatial CompletionJune 2015
Ribbon CuttingNovember 2015
Project CompletionDecember 2015

Project Update

Installation of building precast at the Connecticut Avenue elevation is ongoing.  Metal Panel installation on the west side and installation of skylights have started and is ongoing. The first floor sprinkler system installation is complete.  The second floor sprinkler mains and overhead electrical rough-in installation is ongoing. Plumbing/electrical and ductwork installation on the third floor is also ongoing.

Upcoming activities include: completing the installation of the electrical ductbank along Veazy Terrace, beginning interior wall framing on the first floor, and completing cores and installation for roof drains.

Monthly Progress Photos

Please click images below to see larger picture.

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Perceived Delays

A ceremonial ground breaking event was held in January of 2012, as directed by then University President Allen Sessoms. The event immediately followed awarding the first part of our construction contract. The initial award allowed the general contractor to participate in the design and planning process. The contractor's participation was required to submit proposed construction methods to WMATA for review and permit approval. After a detailed review and approval process, WMATA accepted the proposed construction methods in September of 2012 – a perquisite for obtaining the first construction permit which was issued in early October of 2012. Later that month, excavation activity began and the site was prepared for the installation of a complex but coordinated below grade foundation system. As is possible with any large scale excavation effort, several unforeseen underground obstructions were encountered including an abandoned concrete conduit and an 800 foot long concrete slab. The identification and removal of these and various pieces of buried debris affected the construction schedule and required shifting the completion date.  Additional delays were encountered due to record breaking cold temperatures, rain and snowfall during winter months.

The remaining portion of the construction scope was negotiated and awarded in order to further construction activities in September of 2013. The revised contract was executed and issued to the builder in January of 2014.