University Parking Garage demolition near complete

Contractors will break ground for the Science and Engineering Complex in about a month, after starting demolition work at the site in late May.

The excavation process is projected to begin when the University Parking Garage is fully demolished in four to six weeks, Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia O’Neil Knight said. The University Parking Garage and Building K were shuttered this summer to make way for the $275 million building.

Administrators have long touted the upcoming facility at 22nd and H streets as one that will transform GW into a top-tier research institution by centralizing the science and engineering departments under one roof. GW’s highest governing body, the Board of Trustees, approved the project in Oct. 2010.

Classrooms, lab spaces and breakout rooms will occupy 400,000 square feet across eight above-ground floors, along with two below-ground floors. The ground floor will include 3,000 square feet for retail venues.

The Science and Engineering Complex’s addition of physical space for research will replace “some pretty dismal laboratories” in Corcoran and Tompkins halls, University President Steven Knapp said Friday.

“We have to play catch-up in some areas where we have not been as strong,” Knapp said, comparing GW’s sciences to fields the University is more acclaimed for, such as international affairs and political science.

A four-level below-ground parking garage at the SEC will house 328 parking spaces to offset spaces lost by the torn-down University Parking Garage.

The D.C. Zoning Commission granted the University an official go-ahead on the project by issuing an order of approval July 26.

“The Commission finds that the character, scale, mix of uses and design of the Project are appropriate, and finds that the site plan is consistent with the intent and purposes…to encourage high quality developments that provide public benefits,” the commissioners wrote in the 26-page approval report.

Officials have projected SEC construction will complete in late 2014 and the building will open for use in the spring of 2015.

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