Mason Hall to undergo renovations

In July, reconstruction on Mason Hall will mark the start of another construction project on the Fairfax campus. This project will be completed in two phases, each taking about four months.

Mason Hall, built in 1989, is in need of some touch-ups, most importantly on its windows. The windows on the south and southwest sides of the building have been leaking water for the past five years.

Director of Campus Planning, Cathy Wolfe, explained that the window replacement project is long overdue and has been in the planning process for the past two years.

“We have our days in the President’s office keeping the water off the desk because it leaks so poorly,” Wolfe said. “This has been around for a couple years. We have a long list of deferred projects and this has been moving its way up the ladder.”

Mason Hall’s new windows are projected to cost $1.8 million. The budget for this interior work will come from the university’s maintenance budget and, before this summer, a blueprint of these new windows will be posted online. Mason Hall will remain open during the renovation, but some of its offices will be vacated temporarily.

However, the Mason Hall window replacement is part of a bigger administrative plan that will begin in early August. Many of the administrative offices currently housed in Mason Hall, including the Office of the President, Senior Vice President and Provost, will move to University Hall.

Senior Vice President, J.J. Davis, commented how excited she is for this change on the Fairfax campus.

“This is a university that is growing, and both the challenge and the opportunity here is that we don’t have enough space to meet all the growth,” Davis said.

This renovation has a budget of around $1.4 million. Most of the budget will come from the remaining 2010 University Hall construction budget.

The construction of University Hall was completed on May 2011. Originally, University Hall was constructed with the plan to hold many administration offices including Human Resources and Payroll, Legal Services and University Relations, among others.

However, according to Davis, the campus’ newest building is not being utilized to its fullest potential. This reshuffling plan could potentially create higher administrative efficiency.

Vice President for Facilities, Thomas Calhoun, is looking forward to this reorganization of campus space.

These two big budget projects are expected to have an upside for Mason students as well. After the window replacements in Mason Hall are installed, the building will then be adjusted to accomodate 24,000 square feet of space for academic units.

According to Davis, classrooms on the first floor of Mason Hall will have a hybrid benefit by serving as both meeting rooms and classrooms. The goal is that this greater space efficiency will hopefully result in greater communication not only within the administration at University Hall, but with students at Mason Hall as well.

“This gets more interaction between students and faculty and gives it a lot more of an interesting intersection,” Davis said.

Current Mason students can expect to experience the finished product of these renovations on Mason Hall and University Hall by early October of this year.