Spring Semester 2011 Sees the Opening of Founders Hall

Founders Hall from Fairfax Drive

Students returning to the law school after winter break took note of what was missing on campus: the fencing that had long surrounded the construction of Founders Hall, which received its much-anticipated occupancy permit in early January 2011.

In addition, the Mercatus Center's move from Hazel Hall’s fourth floor to Founders Hall created space to allow the return of law school programs previously housed in the Truland Building to Hazel Hall itself. Among those programs are the Clinic for Legal Assistance to Servicemembers, the Legal Writing Program, Levy Fellows, the Center for Infrastructure Protection (CIP), and offices of the law school’s student organizations and journals.   

Construction began on the Founders Hall project in December 2007 and took place over a three-year period during which the area that once was the Arlington Campus outdoor parking lot began a lengthy transformation from a field of asphalt to a multi-story building encompassing 256,000 square feet, with 160,000 square feet of underground parking.

Home now to the School of Public Policy and Arlington Campus Administration offices, Founders Hall is directly accessible from the law school via corridors that connect the two buildings and contains additional classrooms, of which two will be used for law classes this semester.

Housed on the main floor of Founders Hall are an auditorium, multi-purpose room, lounge, Einstein Bagels, and the Arlington Campus Bookstore. In addition, the building contains the new multi-story Arlington Campus library, which joins the existing law school library in providing modern, well-designed space for research and study. Students also enjoy new computer lab space in Founders Hall.

Taking residence in the new building, as well, are a variety of support offices, including University Services, ITU/DoIt support, Student Health Services, University Life, Enrollment Services, the Writing Center, Operations and Events Management, Food Services, Facilities Management, Parking Services, and the Arlington Campus Mailroom.

Perhaps one of the most touted features of the Founders Hall project is the presence of an outdoor plaza that will provide the face of the campus with a welcome area of green space along Fairfax Drive. The plaza design process included a professionally facilitated planning charrette that was conducted in 2007 to help determine key factors in the plaza design and use. Subsequent recommendations by two planning groups helped drive the final result.

Founders Hall was designed by the Smith Group of Washington, D.C., and built by the Manhattan Construction Company. The published total project budget is approximately $74 million. Floor plans for Founders Hall are available online.