Public health school begins plans for its first building

The Board of Trustees budgeted $3 million for initial work on a building for the School of Public Health and Health Services this spring – a move that will finally give a home to the 11-year-old school.

The $3 million is expected to fund the planning and preliminary design work for the new building, which will take at least three years to construct, SPHHS Dean Ruth Katz said. An architect for the building has not been selected but will be chosen through a competitive bidding process.

“(Construction) can’t happen fast enough,” Katz said. “There has been a need for this building since the school was created 11 years ago. The school has never had a home of its own.”

The building will be located at the intersection of Washington Circle and 24th Street – the current site of the Warwick Building.

Faculty said the new building will help improve the school’s identity, consolidate departments and open up space in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Ross Hall, where most of the SPHHS classes are held.

“I hope that the building will be a state-of-the-art facility that will promote multidisciplinary collaborative public health research and engage the D.C. community in the critical work of the SPHHS,” said Alan Greenberg, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics.

Additionally, school officials plan to have more classrooms, faculty offices and meeting spaces. The building will not include lab research facilities, and SPHHS students will continue to use Ross Hall if necessary.

Katz said a lot of the work in the SPHHS building will not require labs, but the school will need space to host guests for student projects and conferences.

SPHHS has about 100 faculty members and 900 undergraduate and graduate students.

The Warwick Building site was originally identified as a site for redevelopment in the University’s 20-year Campus Plan.

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