Fourth Estate/ Viviana Smith

Mason’s pending construction on West campus raises concerns of congestion within the community


Mason announced its plans to build a new multi-purpose stadium on West Campus near Braddock Road. The stadium is expected to be the new home of Mason baseball, while also hosting cricket matches and other events. The construction has been paused as of Mar. 1. 

The stadium was proposed by Washington Freedom Cricket team owner Sanjay Govil, and was approved by the Board of Visitors

According to an Executive Committee meeting with the BOV on Nov. 30, 2023, they addressed a public contract about the potential stadium in a closed session within the meeting. 

Following the meeting, George Mason University held a virtual townhall on Jan. 29 to allow the community to provide feedback and ask questions about the project.   

Mason administrative and athletic staff informed the surrounding community on major development plans, the partnership of Washington Freedom and Mason, and the benefits of the stadium’s addition to West Campus. 

“The West Campus development allows us to make great progress,” Jackie Ferree, senior vice president of operations and business services, said. “It will allow us to improve student engagement, grow our research… expand our partnerships… as well as community outreach.”

During the question and answer portion of the meeting, Senior Associate Athletics Director Andrew Lieber directs questions regarding an estimate of spectators towards Govil. 

“We have about 7,000 to 10,000 spectators who are going to be coming to see these matches,” Govil said. “In line with what we have at EagleBank Arena, so we are not making it… out of whack”

The community has voiced a lot of pushback against the project, resulting in a petition started on Feb. 5 by “Concerned Resident.” The purpose of the petition is to “halt the Construction of a Cricket Stadium.”

“This large sports complex would fundamentally alter the character of our area, bringing with it increased noise, trash, parking congestion, and traffic,” the petition said.

On Feb. 5, a public Facebook group called Concerned Neighbors of Washington Freedom Stadium project @GMU West Campus was created to track project updates and express their concerns.

According to a statement on the page, “We, the community around GMU’s West Campus, have repeatedly asked to be included in these development discussions to express our concerns and get clarity on the plans…We are the taxpayers who will be burdened with the infrastructure, traffic and community costs….”

Additionally, students have joined the conversation, claiming the decision to construct the stadium is not in the interest of the Mason community.

According to an Instagram post by Student B4 Stadiums GMU, “students were never asked about the project or were able to give ideas [about] what the land could be used for… students demand a say.”

On Feb. 14, Mason’s Office of the President shared President Washington’s open letter addressing the community’s concerns of the pending construction.

“We continue to consider the impact development of the West Campus will have on surrounding traffic, environment, and quality of life, including the many substantial benefits it would bring,” Washington said. 

Washington claims that the current fields are due for renovation and the new stadium could help fix some of the existing issues.

Spuhler Field was built in 1986 and it does not have a video scoreboard or stadium lights, which prohibits the team from playing home games at night. “Our baseball field is not up to standard for intercollegiate play. Our students and their fans deserve better,” Washington said.

“George Mason University exists to serve the Northern Virginia community,” Washington said. Our hope with this project is to improve the community along with our university” 

On Mar. 1, Washington and Govil released an update on the construction of the stadium stating that construction will be paused until the university has further discussions with the surrounding community. 

“We hear and respect your questions and concerns about the timing of the project and whether neighbors will have the opportunity to be heard up front. We assure you that you will,” Washington and Govil said. 

The project is currently in the planning stage. Mason provides updates regarding West Campus developments on their construction website