A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Mason’s Law School: Building Memories

By Leah Kerkman Fogarty on April 1, 2010

Mason's Arlington Campus, The Original Building

For the first two decades of its life, the George Mason University School of Law held court in a former department store, complete with escalators to guide students to and from classes.

Back then, the old Kann’s department store building was also home to Mason’s graduate and continuing education programs. According to a Washington Post article, administrators used to occupy what was once the lady’s lingerie department on the second floor.

To this day, that charming facility is still in use on Mason’s Arlington Campus—now simply referred to as the Original Building. But the structure, which was never intended to be a permanent fixture, will eventually be razed to make way for a high-rise that will take advantage of its very valuable location.

In 1999, the School of Law relocated from the Original Building to a brand-new, 150,000-square-foot facility called Hazel Hall, adjacent to its old location. That was the first of a three-phase plan for the Arlington Campus; this summer will see the opening of Founders Hall and the completion of the second phase. The as-yet-unfunded third phase includes plans to rebuild on the Original Building site.

Larry Czarda, PhD ’97, former vice president of administration at Mason, says, “The building has been a mixed blessing. There’s so much history there, but it’s terribly inefficient.”

Considering that all new construction at Mason is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified, the new building is guaranteed to be more energy efficient. And probably boast fewer escalators.

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