You are here: American University President Announcements March 21, 2011 Memo

AU Memo Letterhead

Memorandum March 21, 2011

AU Community
Neil Kerwin, President
AU's Facilities Future—The 2011 Campus Plan

After almost two years of planning, American University has filed its 2011 Campus Plan with the D.C. Office of Zoning. Public hearings will be scheduled for this summer at times to be announced later this week.

Please review the executive summary and the full plan to become familiar with why these projects and the plan objectives are very important for AU's future. In the next few days, we will let you know how to participate in the public process and make your views known.

The plan ensures that AU's physical facilities meet the goals of our strategic plan, American University and the Next Decade: Leadership for a Changing World. Key objectives are to improve undergraduate housing and add beds (the first major effort since 1986); create a new law school complex on the Tenley campus to be close to the Metro station; provide more recreation, dining, and activity space to give students a stronger on-campus focus; build additional offices to attract and keep top faculty; improve science and research facilities to sharpen our scholarly edge; add athletics facilities for campus fitness; establish an admissions welcome center for new students and their parents; and create an alumni center to serve our graduates.

Campus plans involve university planning and community dialogue mixed with political process and zoning review. We have engaged in extensive and good faith discussions with a variety of community groups and organizations for some 20 months, and over the course of these discussions have made changes to mitigate objectionable impacts.

Nevertheless, we expect opposition to our plan that is grounded in fears expressed by some that living close to our campus and students will have negative effects on the quality of neighborhood life. We respectfully disagree, believing that our university and students are enormous assets to the local community and city. We value our neighborhood location and will work to ensure that our impacts are manageable and that American University will continue to be a valuable education, cultural, and esthetic amenity.

We have a 118-year commitment to our northwest Washington neighborhood, and our current campus buildings, design, landscaping, and future facilities are testament to that. We welcome your thoughts and participation as the planning process goes through the next steps.