Space on college campuses is always at a premium, but when a college is growing as rapidly as the George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services  is, space—and time—really are of the essence.
For years, the college’s faculty, staff, and students have been spread out in office and classroom spaces on the Fairfax and Prince William Campuses and in the City of Fairfax. With the help of donors such as the Toups family and Reston Hospital Center, classroom space has been converted into labs necessary for students to learn the practical skills so vital to their future careers. But now it is time to give the college the space it needs to grow.
With the help of $20 million in funding from the Virginia General Assembly, the college is finalizing plans for a new 160,000-square-foot building that will put all of its programs under one roof with room to grow. As the college expands its role in promoting healthy communities and educating tomorrow’s health care practitioners, this academic and research facility will change the look of the university and its role in the region.
The building, now called Academic VII, will sit at the entrance to campus on University Boulevard. More than a traditional academic building, this building will have five signature spaces that will help the college move to the forefront of the health sciences: the Nutrition Kitchen Lab, the Health Informatics Learning Lab, the Functional Performance Lab, the Nursing Simulation and Skills Lab, and the Community Health Institute. The college is well on its way to becoming a comprehensive health care research and clinical practice enterprise.
Dean Thomas Prohaska says the new labs and clinics will provide cutting-edge training for students and provide more opportunities for the college to contribute to the well-being of the community and pursue interdisciplinary research.
The state funding reflects George Mason’s essential role in contributing to Virginia’s health care system and its economy, says Prohaska. “We are the health college for the community. One of the most important jobs we do is to contribute to the health care workforce.”
- Construction is expected to start in March 2015 with completion expected in January 2017.
- Nearly 2,500 students are currently enrolled in the college with close to 100 tenured full-time faculty.
- The Nutrition Kitchen Lab will have cooking and demonstration space.
- In the Functional Performance Lab, Rehabilitation Science faculty and students will be able to conduct research and work with patients using state-of-the-art equipment and technology.
- The Health Informatics Learning Lab will provide the next generation of health-sector professionals with hands-on experience in designing health data systems and analysis.
- The Community Health Institute will enable the School of Nursing to provide health care services to underserved populations. It will also provide faculty across the college with the facilities to conduct their research and education projects, and students with important hands-on learning opportunities.
- The project is expected to cost $73 million; Mason will raise $9 million in tax-deductible donations for the building fund.
If you would like to contribute to the building fund for Academic VII, visit give.gmu.edu. For more information, email email@example.com.