By Sean Joyce, The Stylus Correspondent

A giant, shiny building has appeared in the middle of George Mason’s Arlington campus. And you may be wondering, will you ever actually step foot in this state-of-the-art facility? If you are taking classes in the spring of 2011 or after, the answer is yes.

The seven-story building, known as Founders Hall, will open for classes in January 2011 and will be the new home of the School of Pubic Policy.

The building will also contain space for the Graduate School of Education; the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Information Technology and Engineering; the School of Management; the College of Nursing and Health Sciences; the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution; the College of Visual and Performing Arts; Instructional Facilities; and the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.

In addition to 256,000 square feet of office and classroom space, Founders Hall will also provide a much-needed 160,000-square-foot parking garage. The building will also include a new library, bookstore and auditorium.

There will be a large open plaza in front of the building for students to enjoy during non-blizzard conditions. The current schedule calls for trees to be planted in the plaza by the first week of May.

According to Tom Calhoun, vice president of Facilities, the project has now reached a cost of approximately $85 million.

Founders Hall is nearly 85 percent complete and is expected to be ready for occupancy around November. Once complete, some units will begin moving from the various buildings of the Arlington campus to their new space in Founders Hall, though classes will not be held in the building until Spring 2011.

Karen Pirhalla, Arlington campus executive officer, described how the opening of Founders Hall will affect the campus: “The occupancy of Founders Hall will trigger moves in each of the existing buildings on campus. Units currently in the Original Building that are not moving into Founders Hall, will relocate to the Truland Building.”

The university plans to decommission the Original Building in an effort to move toward the final phase of a three-part plan for developing the Arlington campus.

The first phase, Hazel Hall, which houses the School of Law, was completed in 1998. Founders Hall is the second
phase. The third phase includes the replacement of the Original Building with a new 750,000-square-foot building.

The Stylus is a new publication on the Arlington campus.