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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, campus-wide renovation on 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 extended renovation of 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 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 that addresses University needs and public design goals
  • 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 Projected Milestones

Completion of SteelSeptember 2014
Begin Interior Wall Layout (lower levels)              September 2014
Building Enclosure BeginsOctober 2014
Geothermal Well DrillingMay – October 2014
OccupancySpring 2015

Please click images below to see larger picture.

New Student Center ConstructionNew Student Center ConstructionNew Student Center Construction
New Student Center ConstructionNew Student Center ConstructionNew Student Center Construction
New Student Center ConstructionNew Student Center Construction


Delays & Next Steps

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 of a construction contract 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.  An abandoned concrete conduit was discovered and had to be removed.  A concrete slab (800 feet), presumably used to support a crane during construction of campus buildings in the late 1960s was also encountered and had to be removed.  The identification and removal of these and various other pieces of buried debris unfortunately affected the construction schedule and required shifting the original completion date. 

While it was crucial to have the general contractor brought on board early, the remaining portion of the construction scope had to be negotiated and awarded in order to further construction activities.  Negotiations were completed in September of 2013.  The revised contract was executed and issued to the builder in January of 2014. Additional delays were encountered during this past Winter's record breaking cold temperatures, rain and snowfall.  The project is currently poised to complete below grade foundation systems, installation of utility lines and enclose the lower level of the new building this Spring.  Placement of slab on grade concrete is scheduled to be completed in June of 2014.  A 200' tower crane will be delivered to the site in May of this year, as will the first pieces of structural steel.  Installation of the building's mechanical support system (Geothermal Well Field) will be completed in October of 2014.  Construction activities will continue throughout the spring and summer months.  A ribbon cutting ceremony will be planned for Spring of 2015.