Mayor Vincent Gray joined UDC President Allen Sessoms in breaking ground on a new $40 million student center.  It will be the first LEED Platinum student center in the country and will be the face of UDC for the future!  Pictured are (l to r): UDC Facilities VP Barbara Jumper, Dr. Sessoms, Mayor Gray, UDC Board Chairman Joseph Askew, Jr., Councilmember Michael Brown, and Council Chair Kwame Brown.

Date of Publication: 

New Student Center Construction Commences

Center to Become ‘Gateway’ to Quality, Affordable Education


Washington, DC - Mayor Vincent C. Gray and President Allen L. Sessoms broke ground today on a world-class student center on the campus of the University of the District of Columbia.  The $40 million facility, part of the historic and comprehensive renovation of Washington’s only public university, will give, at long last, an iconic face for the institution as it continues its lauded renaissance.

“I’m proud to help break ground on this student center not only because I was able to help secure the funding for it as Council Chair, but also because it represents the full-spectrum of improvements in public education on which my administration is working hard every day,” Mayor Gray said. “As the District’s only public four-year university, UDC provides a crucial service to our residents in equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in a 21st-century economy.”
“This establishes for our students more than a gathering place,” said Dr. Sessoms.  “It is a building created for them – for their educational pursuits.  And it becomes for our supportive community a gateway to Upper Northwest and all this community has to offer.”

Dr. Sessoms noted that the building’s construction will be LEED Platinum standard, the highest possible rating for sustainable construction, the first student center of its kind in the nation.

The student center, $35 million of which was funded by the DC City Council in 2009 (the remaining $5 million will paid for through a dedicated student fee), will provide a host of services for UDC students, including food and financial services, study and meeting halls, and entertainment venues.  Mayor Gray, then Chair of the Council, secured the funding as a way of supporting the District’s State University.

“We are so fortunate to have the support of our chief executive and our Council,” said Joseph L. Askew, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees.  “This would not have happened without our dedicated city leaders, motivated staff, and Dr. Sessoms’ vision of building a great university for our students and city of which we can all be proud.”

One of the project’s lead designers is also an alumnus of the University.  Michael Marshal, an architecture graduate of the university, owns Marshall/Moya Architects, which has partnered with Cannon Designs on the student center, which is expected to be completed before the Spring 2013 semester.  The construction team of Parkinson/Forrester has been selected to build the facility. 

This is the latest in a host of aggressive construction projects the university has undertaken in the last two years.  Some of those projects include: Renovation of the Van Ness plaza deck (the largest green roof project in DC), renovation and move of the David A. Clarke School of Law to its own building on the UDC campus, and upgrade and maintenance of facilities serving sites of UDC’s Community College.

View renderings of the new student center and read the university’s master plan here:

As the only urban land-grant institution in the United States, the University of the District of Columbia ( supports a broad mission of education, research and community service across all member colleges and schools, which include the Community College, College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, College Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Public Administration, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and David A. Clarke School of Law.

The University of the District of Columbia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For a full version of the University’s EO Policy Statement, please visit:

The University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education - 3624 Market Street - Philadelphia, PA 19104 - 267.284.5000

Contact: Alan Etter, Vice President of University Relations & Public Affairs,, 202.345.6371