Officials announce details, timeline for development of campus strategic plan

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University President Thomas LeBlanc announced details behind the process to develop GW’s Strategic Campus and Facilities Master Plan Monday.

Officials announced the beginning of a new planning process to guide future development on GW’s three campuses Monday.

University President Thomas LeBlanc sent an email to the University community Monday announcing details behind the process to develop GW’s Strategic Campus and Facilities Master Plan, which will be approved by the Board of Trustees in June. The master plan will establish the “vision” and “guiding principles” for GW’s physical spaces and create standards for a “unified campus identity” that create a sense of “belonging,” according to the email.

“Our planning will unfold alongside our University’s broader strategic planning process, aligning our efforts and creating a plan for our campuses and facilities that support the recommendations of our four strategic planning committees,” LeBlanc said in the email.

The plan’s scheduled vote aligns with the approval of GW’s next strategic plan, which was delayed to the board’s 2020 summer retreat.

LeBlanc said the plan will complement the 2007 Foggy Bottom Campus Plan and the 2010 Mount Vernon Campus Plan, development frameworks for the campuses that account for regulatory and zoning requirements for the surrounding neighborhoods.

“While we continue to make improvements each day, such as creating Potomac Square, we are now ready to consider our longer-term vision for our spaces and how we can best leverage the tremendous resources of our Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses to support our aspirations,” he said in the email.

LeBlanc said officials will host focus groups and community forums in the coming months to solicit feedback from the GW community and local residents about proposals. Officials have partnered with Cooper Robertson, an architecture and urban design firm, to issue recommendations constituting the plan, according to the email.

The effort comes amid several major planned changes to GW’s campuses, including a two-year renovation of Thurston Hall starting next year and the demolition of Rice Hall at 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. Trustees approved $10 million in campus improvements this summer, like new flooring in Mitchell Hall and Potomac House and enhanced exterior lighting on the Vern.

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mark Diaz, who pushed for the campus improvements, will lead a steering committee comprised of 15 faculty, staff and students to spearhead the planning effort, according to the email.

Other “executive sponsors” of the committee include Reuben Brigety, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, and Cissy Petty, the vice president of student affairs. The committee includes Vice President for Research Robert Miller, Director of the George Washington University Museum John Wetenhall and two students.

Diaz said in an interview in October that the planning process kicked off in approximately late September and will examine all three of GW’s campuses.

“This is really in alignment with the strategic plan,” Diaz said in October. “What are our campuses going to either look like, facilitate or align with when we get to whatever the desired outcome is?”

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