The University of Mary Washington is expanding yet again, breaking ground on its third campus this spring.
Construction of the UMW Dahlgren Campus Center for Education and Research building will be the first development at the new campus.
Groundbreaking for the 40,000 square foot two-story building is scheduled for April 8, 2010. The construction will be is set to cost $18.4 million and is managed by Kjellstrom and Lee Construction.
In 2007, UMW purchased approximately 27 acres for $1.5 million. The property is in King George County just outside the Dahlgren Naval Surface base off U.S Route 301.
The third campus will exist in addition to the College of Arts and Sciences campus in Fredericksburg and the College of Graduate and Professional Studies in Stafford.
After the success of the University’s Stafford campus addition in 1999, prominent Virginia politicians, including Senator John H. Chichester of the 28th district of Virginia, approached UMW about expanding into King George County.
By expanding into the King George area, UMW will promote growth of the local economy there, according to Richard Pearce, associate vice president of business and finance at UMW.
“One of the missions of the university is to promote economic growth and stability in the community and region,” Pearce said.
According to Pearce, providing educational opportunities in other areas of the region is one of the ways UMW is able to do that.
The Dahlgren Center will house programs currently being held on the base provided by Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, George Mason University and Old Dominion University, as well as programs by the Naval Post Graduate School.
The programs are for naval officers and the 35 to 40 defense contractors in the area and are expected to involve various sciences, mathematics, computer, engineering and research fields. They will be moved to UMW’s Dahlgren Center in fall 2011, when the building is scheduled to open.
Negotiations are underway to involve Germanna Community College and Rappahannock Community College as well.
The center will incorporate many ecologically efficient systems including geo-thermal heating and cooling, plenty of strategically placed windows to allow efficient natural light during the daytime hours, according to the UMW press release.
“We were given a pretty open slate,” Pearce said. “We are able to do some really cool stuff. It’s going to be a very pretty place.”
Construction of the site will be very low impact, according to Pearce. Only about 11 of the 27 acres are being used for the campus itself.
The building will meet the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. The surrounding wetlands and wooded areas are going to be kept very pristine.
The Dahlgren Center facility will include 18 classrooms, a computer lab, a research and experimental classroom, and 3,300 square foot conference space.
“I had no idea this was even happening,” sophomore Alan Lugo said when he learned of the addition.
The new campus also came as a surprise to sophomore Sam Strawder.
“I’m surprised that they didn’t tell us,” Strawder said. “I don’t think anyone knows there is going to be a third campus.”
Even though the addition may be unknown to some UMW students, the Dahlgren Center could potentially benefit them in the future.
BY WILL LYNCH
With UMW acting essentially as the landlord, the Dahlgren facility will generate revenue from the various institutions using it. The extra income will help fund future improvements and development at the main campus like those mentioned by President Judy Hample in her recent State of the University address and those described on the “Campus Changes” website.
The University has received all of the funds for construction of the project from the Commonwealth of Virginia and is still waiting for $4.5 million for classroom and research equipment.