SPHHS building proposal discussed at neighborhood meeting

University officials presented designs for the new School of Public Health and Health Services building to Foggy Bottom and West End community members at an Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A meeting Wednesday.

Britany Waddell, director of community relations for GW’s Office of Government, International and Community Relations attended what she called the first of two ANC meetings to discuss the SPHHS building’s development. The next presentation will likely be in February, before final plans are submitted to the D.C. Office of Zoning.

Administrators announced SPHHS is slated to have its first stand-alone structure in October. The 90-foot-tall building will sit in place of the current Warwick Memorial Building, located at Washington Circle between New Hampshire Avenue and 24th Street.

Construction is scheduled to take place from early 2012 to late 2013, but the University still needs to file for zoning permits in order to begin construction.

The project as planned includes a green roof and “enlarged and enhanced” public park and will preserve an aged oak tree at the corner of the site. An open atrium with glass panels will be placed front and center of the structure.

According to the designs, each floor of the seven-story edifice will have office space, classrooms and breakout study areas for students. Two levels will be below ground and there will be no parking spaces. A storm water storage site will retain runoff water.

The building’s entrance will face New Hampshire Avenue and a loading dock will be on 24th Street.

ANC chair Rebecca Coder said she is glad to see sustainability options being put forward in the blueprints, but there is still more collective input from the community that needs to be gathered.

“I don’t think we’ll have an opinion until February when [GW representatives] come back for their formal presentation,” Coder said. “But I think they’re headed in the right direction with those developments.”

Michael Akin, assistant vice president of the Office of Government, International and Community Relations, said he looks forward to continued dialogue and constructive feedback from neighbors at community meetings.

University officials will hold an informational presentation on the long-discussed Science and Engineering Complex – a $275 million project that will be the most expensive in GW history – at next month’s ANC meeting.

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