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George Mason Creates More Spaces for Students to Gather with New Building

by | Jun 12, 2024 | News

This article originally appeared on GMU.edu.

George Mason University broke ground on the Activities Community Wellness Building on the Fairfax Campus on Monday morning. The facility is designed to enhance campus life by providing a gathering place for students to engage with each other and deepen their sense of belonging at the university.

The groundbreaking featured remarks from George Mason President Gregory Washington, representatives from Facilities and University Life, and associate professor of music Michael “Doc Nix” Nickens, leader of the Green Machine band ensembles.

“This is truly a students-come-first building,” said Rose Pascarell, vice president for University Life. “It’s really about listening to the needs of students who have consistently said to us: ‘We want more space to gather. We want to be able to come together more easily. We want to engage with each other.’ Which is exactly what we know is part of the magic sauce of George Mason and actually the secret sauce of student success and student retention.”

The 25,000-square-foot concrete and tension fabric structure, to be located behind the Recreation Athletic Complex, will be built by Hoar Construction in partnership with Powers Brown Architecture and civil engineer IMEG Corp. and is scheduled for completion in 2025. The $11 million building will feature two full-sized basketball courts and meeting spaces for the university’s 350-plus student groups, and it also will provide practice space for the Green Machine.

“If anything personifies our students, our diversity, our rich heritage, our innovation, our spirit, it actually is the Green Machine,” Washington said. “So having that entity have a focal point, a centerpiece, a gathering point, a rallying point, is probably one of the most important things we can do.”

Nickens, who fought back tears during his brief remarks, is thrilled that his ensembles will now have a space they can call home.

“If you think we have delivered so far, you wait till we move [into] this spot,” Nickens said, motioning to the construction site, pierced moments later by a line of gold shovels.

 

 

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