BOTH BUILDINGS WILL BE TORN DOWN TO CREATE A MORE MODERN FACILITY
By Sarah Wheeler, Staff Writer
Mason has decided to demolish Robinson Hall to create a more modern academic facility for students and faculty. Construction for the new building will begin in April of 2018.
The project has already been authorized by the university withs a total construction budget of more than $111 million. The new building is scheduled to open in May of 2022.
Surrounded by the Johnson Center, Student Union Building 1 and Fenwick Library, Robinson Hall is a landmark in the center of campus. It is home to eleven different departments, including English, Religion and Sociology, as well as the Colleges of Education and Human Development and Health and Human Services. Although Robinson Hall A and B together house 30% of all university classrooms, the complex was built in 1975 and there have been no major improvements to it since its original construction.
Many on campus agree that the Robinson Hall rebuild is needed, but there is some concern about how the construction project will impact faculty and students. Affected departments have voiced concerns over a potential lack of storage space, temporary offices and classrooms while renovations are underway.
One of the departments housed in Robinson is the English Department. The Director of Linguistics, Steven Weinberger, has been here for 28 years.
“We have to move twice and we’re not really sure what the new building is going to be like,” said Weinberger, referring to moving everything out and back in after construction, “however, moving is refreshing, cleansing.”
The new 218,000 gross square feet of Robinson Hall’s new replacement building will primarily contain academic offices and class spaces, but the floorplan will include a Mason Innovation Exchange and common areas as well. One third of the new building’s interior will be devoted to university classrooms, and almost half of the total space will house department offices. Other design features will include natural light throughout the building, community kitchens on every floor, as well as shower facilities and lactation rooms.
This demolition will bring some major changes to the center of campus. Specifically, the teardown of Robinson Hall B will bring a new amphitheater and courtyard space between the new building and Harris Theater. The theater will not be left out as it is set to undergo renovations as well. The northern edge of the new building to replace Robinson Hall will align with the northern edge of Fenwick Library, which will help to establish a new border for the north quad.
Even with all of these changes coming to the center of campus, the two major pedestrian pathways that intersect at the Clocktower will remain untouched by the construction.
Architectural Rendering by Perkins + Will, Courtesy of George Mason University