March 21, 2012
|FROM:||Neil Kerwin, President|
|SUBJECT:||Campus Plan Approval by D.C. Zoning Commission
I am pleased to inform you that on Thursday, March 8, the D.C. Zoning Commission approved AU’s 2011 Campus Plan—which provides a “green light” to begin construction on a number of facilities projects to support AU’s academic aspirations and enhance campus ambiance, while also emphasizing our commitment to be a sensitive neighbor.
The approval includes the East Campus project, which will convert the Nebraska Avenue parking lot into an eight-acre mixed use development comprising housing (590 beds), academic space, and offices; Nebraska Hall addition (150 beds); North Hall (360 beds), behind the President’s Office Building; Mary Graydon Center addition; and Washington College of Law relocation to the Tenley Campus.
On Monday, March 26, we return for the Zoning Commission’s deliberations on the final part of the Campus Plan—to seek the approval of construction plans for the law school’s new Tenley Campus location.
In addition to building a number of priority projects, the university will have an array of responsibilities to fulfill and obligations to uphold. AU will house 67 percent of our undergraduates on campus by 2016; maintain a student population cap of 13,600 which includes 2,000 law students; comply with off-campus parking provisions and further monitor our traffic impact; manage objectionable off-campus student behavior; mitigate sound on the Jacobs Field; and strengthen efforts to engage neighborhood organizations in ongoing dialogue and dispute resolution.
In the next few weeks, the Zoning Commission will issue a written order that outlines the project approvals and the conditions of compliance. The life of this plan is for the next 10 years.
This entire Campus Plan process has lasted almost three years—we began with a campus discussion to identify and prioritize AU’s space needs for the coming decades; assessed potential project sites; sought Board of Trustees approval; involved the neighboring community in extensive discussion and review by three different Advisory Neighborhood Commissions; and presented proposed plans before the D.C. Zoning Commission in public hearings. Along the way, we made significant changes to the plan—to modify projects, add new sites or drop others, alter designs, mitigate impact, and reaffirm AU’s commitment that changes will be managed appropriately.
From envisioning initial concepts to earning final approval, the Campus Plan was a total team effort by many AU units and individuals who deserve special thanks—including the Office of Chief Financial Officer, Vice President and Treasurer, under whom Facilities Development, Campus Architect, and Community Relations all operate; the Office of the Vice President of Campus Life and especially the Dean of Students Office; the Office of the General Counsel; University Communications and Marketing; the Office of the President; and Goulston & Storrs, our land use counsel.
Also vital was participation by numerous other departments and AU alumni, faculty, staff, and students—including our Faculty Senate leadership; Student Government Association and Graduate Leadership Council; student ANC 3D representative; Alumni Association; and everyone who wrote letters of support, testified at public hearings, or spoke at community meetings or in private conversations. Thanks to everyone.
In the near future, I will provide an update on the March 26 Zoning Commission deliberation, details about the construction timeline, and measures we must implement as a good neighbor and community member. Having gone through a public process of rigorous debate over the past two years, we reassure our neighbors in the surrounding communities that we renew our commitment to be a vibrant citizen of Washington, D.C., and an integral and supportive part of our neighborhood.
This outcome truly will enable American University to begin a new chapter in its history. Thank you to everyone for this remarkable achievement.
AU's strategic plan, Leadership for a Changing World, outlines goals and objectives for the next decade at American University. Visit american.edu/strategicplan for more information. (myAU.american.edu login required for some documents)