The School of Continuing Studies officially moved to its new downtown location August 20 in time for the start of the fall semester.
“The opening so far has been going pretty well,” SCS Interim Dean Walter Rankin said. “Given that we moved everybody from two campuses, we managed it in three days’ time.”
Although classes start Wednesday, the building’s renovation work is still incomplete. The construction company prioritized classrooms and office space so that the building could open for the fall semester. Throughout the next few months, work will continue on the cafe and auditorium. Some AV equipment and screens need to be adjusted and installed, which Rankin said should be completed within the next few weeks.
The new space at 640 Massachusetts Ave. NW contains faculty-only areas, such as a faculty lounge and a work lounge, which the previous campuses on M Street and in Clarendon, Va., lacked. There are also breakout rooms that can be used for one-on-one meetings with students.
“So far, the faculty reaction has been really great,” Rankin said. “I think some faculty were a little nervous at first, but it’s really very accessible and many of our faculty work downtown, so for many it makes the commute shorter.”
Rankin said that student reaction has been positive so far.
“We were completely prepared that some people might not know what to make of the transition, but the excitement level is extremely high,” Rankin said. “Nobody has withdrawn from any of the programs because of the [new] location. We’re on track for our largest fall enrollment ever.”
To celebrate the official opening of the building, SCS organized a service event Saturday, engaging with the local neighborhood through the Central Union Mission and the Asian and Pacific Islander Senior Center. This was the first time the SCS had organized a service event, and roughly 45 students participated, along with SCS faculty and staff.
“We’re excited because we want to keep doing these activities to build strong relationships with the neighborhood,” Rankin said. “[The proximity] will get us a chance to do this on a regular basis. We’re looking forward to expanding this image of Georgetown downtown … really to help the community and engage people.”
The university is applying for Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design status for the building, the second-highest certification granted by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Rankin expressed confidence in the building’s certification, citing its proximity to all major metro lines and Circulator bus lines as a factor, along with its water-efficient plumbing and power-efficient LED fixtures.
During construction, the builders also used non volatile organic compounds, and the furniture in the new building has very low organic compound content. Many of the materials used were also recyclable and regional.
The university should receive notice about the certification by the end of the year.