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George Mason University’s 50th anniversary celebration continued Friday, with the official unveiling of a project designed to transform its Science and Technology Campus in Manassas, Virginia.
The university broke ground on a new Life Sciences and Engineering Building and the much-anticipated Innovation Town Center and University Village at Innovation projects, which will allow the SciTech Campus to provide a full array of academic offerings and university life experiences for students and community members.
Officials from project partners Stanley Martin Homes and Castle Rock Partners LLC joined state, local and university officials among the roughly 200 guests on hand to usher in the new era.
“We come together not just to break ground on the Life Sciences and Engineering Building, the Innovation Town Center, and the University Village at Innovation,” Mason President Gregory Washington said. “But we’ve actually come together to break ground on a true commitment, a shared vision that will empower and attract students and faculty, that will serve the nearby community, and spur economic development in this region. The success of Prince William County and George Mason University are indeed intertwined.”
Other speakers included Jeanine Lawson, Brentsville district supervisor from the Prince William County Board of Supervisors; Tom Twomey, division president from Stanley Homes; Tim Kissler, principal at Castle Rock Partners; and Luke Torian, a state representative representing Virginia’s 52nd District in the House of Delegates. Trishana E. Bowden, Mason’s vice president for advancement and alumni relations, served as the program’s host.
The Life Sciences and Engineering Building, a 132,000-square-foot facility, will support students enrolled in STEM-H majors, such as but not limited to kinesiology, materials science, forensic science, bioengineering and mechanical engineering.
With a scheduled completion date of August 2024, the $75 million facility will include specialized instructional labs, classrooms, experiential learning collaboratories, and faculty and administrative offices to support growing student and faculty communities on the SciTech Campus.
“The scholarship and research that will take place in our Life Sciences and Engineering Building will deepen the academic footprint on this campus,” Washington said.
Ron Carmichael, the director of administration and operations for the SciTech Campus, called the additions significant.
“It will contribute greatly to the expanded student presence and programming on campus,” he said.
With the addition of the Life Sciences and Engineering Building and the simultaneous development of the Innovation Town Center, the SciTech Campus will provide a residential campus experience to students enrolling in relevant STEM-H programs beginning their freshman year and extending through their PhD work. The Stanley Martin portion of the Town Center will offer 1,100 townhomes for sale, while the Castle Rock portion of the Town Center will include potential student residence halls.
Retail stores will be available in the heart of the Town’s Center first floor, while the second floor will include residential, office and research space, Carmichael said.
“It’s going to have the amenities for students, faculty and staff that we’ve needed for the last 25 years,” Carmichael said.
University and local officials believe the increasingly vibrant SciTech Campus will serve as a magnet to attract new and existing businesses in Prince William County’s Innovation Park, advance the region’s innovation industries and drive associated economic growth.
Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in early May.
“It’s a really, really big deal for us,” Washington said. “The Life Sciences and Engineering Building and the private development planned for this campus will re-imagine and re-form this campus and this region. It is indeed a big deal.”