George Mason University’s plan to develop a major compound in Arlington focused on technology is set for another major step forward.
A formal groundbreaking ceremony is set for April 6, part of a week of celebrations on the Arlington campus.
The expansion effort focused on development of the university’s Institute for Digital InnovAtion, a private-public partnership that will provide up to 360,000 square feet of new space dedicated to producing the next generation of Northern Virginia’s technology workforce for the university, as well as outside tenants.
Construction, which is on track as scheduled to start this spring, is expected to be completed in early 2025. The state government has kicked in $84 million for the initiative, with the university pledging to raise a similar amount.
The project is seen as critical to the Virginia state government’s Tech Talent Investment Program, a 20-year effort designed to produce 25,000 additional graduates in computer science, computer engineering and software engineering.
The new facility will be located on the spot of the one-time Kann’s Department Store, which was purchased by Mason in the late 1970s and served as its first home in Arlington. The building was knocked down in 2021.
The Arlington campus currently is home to the Antonin Scalia School of Law, the Carter School of Peace and Conflict Resolution, the Schar School for Policy and Government and the Arts Management and the graduate programs of the School of Business. A multi-year “visioning” process for the university’s various campuses suggested that a stay-the-course approach to facilities – evolution rather than revolution – was the best option moving forward.
The groundbreaking is set for April 6 at 2 p.m. Other facets of the weeklong festivities, which also marks 50 years of Mason’s presence in Arlington, will be a “Profiles of Arlington” reception honoring faculty, staff, students and alumni (April 5) and “Decades Party on the Plaza” where attendees are encouraged to dress in the fashion on of their choice from the 1970s to today (April 8). Events will be kicked off with a lunchtime Arlington-themed trivia competition in April 4.