Dean hopes new public health building with unify school

Demolition of the Warwick Memorial Building will begin next semester to make way for a School of Public Health and Health Services’ academic building.

The $75 million public health building will be the first centralized home for the 14-year-old school.

School of Public Health and Health Services Dean Lynn Goldman said the building’s impending construction hasn’t yet “sunk in” for the staff and faculty.

“Once the Warwick is emptied out and demolition begins, excitement will build. Once we break ground,” Goldman said. “We are on the verge of a very exciting time for the school actually being able to watch the building in progress.”

Goldman said the building will unify the school’s seven different departments and foster a sense of community. The more than 115,000 square foot building will also increase the school’s class availability for students. Public health classes are currently held in Ross Hall, the School of Medicine’s building.

Goldman said she does not expect the new building to boost applications or enrollment in the school.

“I don’t think it’s going to change the numbers in the school, but it’s going to change the school,” she said.

The D.C. Zoning Commission issued its formal order of approval for the 90-foot-tall building July 25.

The seven-floor structure might include a café with beverages and prepared food. There will also be 81 bicycle parking spaces.

The University hopes the building will reach a minimum of Silver certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, part of University President Steven Knapp’s broader goal to boost sustainability efforts on campus.

Initial construction plans included a loading dock facing the New Hampshire Avenue entrance, but after pushback from the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission, a local advocacy group, officials nixed plans for the dock and limited loading service hours. The area will feature concrete sidewalks as opposed to brick sidewalks – which neighbors have complained become safety hazards during bad weather.

“We are hoping students will feel at home there, will feel like they can connect with faculty and the program overall,” Goldman said.

University officials project the building – sitting between New Hampshire Avenue and 24th Street – will open for use in spring 2014.

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