Trustees OK additional $10 million in campus improvement projects

Officials will spend an additional $10 million this summer on improvements to the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses, according to a University release Monday.

The Board of Trustees recently approved the expenditure after Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mark Diaz and facilities staff conducted a walkthrough of the University’s buildings to identify issues that “require immediate investment,” the release states. The money will go toward projects, like new flooring in Michell Hall and Potomac House and “enhanced” exterior lighting on the Vern, in more than 40 buildings and in outdoor and landscaping spaces.

“From updating mechanical systems to creating comfortable spaces to live, learn and work to fixing chipped paint on a railing – all the details matter,” Diaz said in the release. “Our spaces should be our asset. They are critical elements of our overall culture and directly affect every community member’s experience.”

The $10 million figure is separate from maintenance planned in the University’s fiscal year 2020 budget, which trustees approved in May, according to the release.

Officials will use the additional funds to “update” community spaces like the Marvin Center terrace and install a “modern” heating and cooling system in Building GG, the release states. Tenants of the building, which houses the psychology department, have filed two complaints with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration detailing issues with the building’s air quality and “unbearable” variations in temperature among the building’s rooms.

Information will be provided on projects as they are finished, and “many” will finish before the upcoming fall semester, according to the release.

“A preeminent university needs to have world-class facilities,” University President Thomas LeBlanc said in the release. “This is a first step in an ongoing effort to make sure our facilities reflect the caliber of our students, faculty and staff.”

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