WASHINGTON (April 18, 2013) – Hundreds gathered on the campus of Howard University for the historic groundbreaking of two new residence halls and a major research facility in the first expansion of academic space in two decades.
President Sidney A. Ribeau said the projects will enhance the quality of academic and social life for thousands of Howard’s students while also serving as a “catalyst for development” of the surrounding community.
“Today is a great day for Howard University,” he said. “We have many players to thank for their foresight, hard work and planning. I would also like to thank the Board (of Trustees) for supporting my vision.”
U.S. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, (D-D.C.) joined President Ribeau; Board Chairman Addison Barry Rand; Provost and Chief Academic Officer Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D., MBA; and Barbara L.J. Griffin, Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs, at the ceremony.
Norton described Howard as a “jewel” in Washington and also emphasized that it is an important driver of growth in the city.
“Howard University shaped this city,” Norton said. “The University attracted middl- class African Americans and helped establish the surrounding neighborhoods. When Howard University builds, its impact is far-reaching in our city.”
In March, Howard announced the development of the two new living-learning residence halls, to be located on the Fourth Street Corridor of campus. The halls are designed to accommodate 1,360 students and will include generous social, study and programming spaces. The development is slated for completion by August 2014 and will cost $107 million.
“The two residence halls will have a tremendous impact on the lives of our students,” said Griffin. “The state-of-the-art design and concept of both buildings will give us the capacity to develop a more collaborative living and learning community.”
The new Interdisciplinary Research Building (IRB), to be located at 2201 Georgia Ave., NW, is an 81,000 square-foot mixed-use academic building, and is the cornerstone of the University’s academic renewal initiative. The IRB will include wet and dry laboratories, instructional space, research support space, ground floor retail, and centralized offices for faculty, students and academic staff.
“We also look forward to attracting and retaining faculty, fostering more cross disciplinary scientific investigation, training graduate students using cutting-edge technology, and enhancing our research platform,” Frederick said. “It will also allow us to maximize the use of all of our strengths as an institution. We will become much bigger than the sum total of all of the parts.”
Officials from development and construction firms who are partners on the two major projects also attended the groundbreaking. Partners for the IRB include Turner Construction Company, HOCHTIEF, Brailsford & Dunlavey, and HDR Architecture. Partners for the new student housing buildings include Provident Resources Group, Campus Apartments, RBC Capital, Clark Construction, and McKissack & McKissack. University administrators, faculty members and student leaders also attended.
Chairman Rand said both projects would help the University attract and retain students. Like Norton, he is a native of Washington, DC, and spoke about Howard’s influence on his early life. He said the university provided him with exemplars whose standards and success convinced him that he too could achieve.
“Again, this is a great day for Howard and for Washington, D.C. This is an example of why Howard will always be a great institution.”