Founded originally in 1957 as the Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia, George Mason University is now the largest university in the state of Virginia with a fall 2010 enrollment of 32,562 students, 2,063 of which were freshman in 2010. It consists of the main campus of 677 acres in Fairfax, Virginia 15 miles from the heart of Washington, DC, a Prince William County campus in Manassas, a Loudoun County campus, and a law school located at a Arlington, Virginia campus. George Mason University offers 75 undergraduate and 123 graduate degree programs as well as its law school. Its school colars are green and gold. It is named after Revolutionary era founder George Mason, a neighbor of George Washington who lived at Gunston Hall in Fairfax County, Virginia. Its Patriot Center where basketball games are held is the second largest concert and events venue in the Washington, DC area. Because of its rapid growth, most of its dorm and other buildings are new. Despite its large size, George Mason University was designed with a very compact and walkable campus. Once primarily a computer campus, it now has one of the largest number of non campus dorm rooms of any university. Known for academic excellence and innovation, George Mason boasts the largest number of Nobel Prize winners on its faculty of any public university in the country.
The Johnson Center fully opened on January 1, 1996. It is a 320,000 square foot, four story building (i.e. essentially the equivalent of four football fields stacked on top of each other) that cost $30 million to build. It is designed to be a new type of university student union building where eating, services, a library and other facilities are included as a type of internal university “new quad.” The food court and bookstore are the main area of the building, but also included are a 100,000 square foot 100,000 volume library, a 310-seat Cinema, the university radio station, meeting rooms, a bank, 2 full service restaurants, four 25-station computer labs, and more than 700 lockers for students.
Featured in Time magazine, Southside Dining Hall is a $10 million, 40,000 square foot dining hall that opened in September of 2008. Praised for its sustainable practices and food and decor that is more like an upscale restaurant than a dining hall, Southside Dining Hall is the latest in the war of university dining halls to attract students with quality dining experiences. To the parents – dining hall food is not what it isued to be! Located close to the center of campus, Southside Dining Hall is open to all students, faculty and visitors and also includes a large physical fitness center. It is part of the Cheseapeake dorm complex in what is known as the Northeast Sector of George Mason University and is a short wall away from the Johnson Center student union building.
New rear entrance to Student Union Building I
Lobby of Student Union I Building
Front entrance of Student Union Building I
Student Union II Building
Upper entrance to Student Union Building II
Inside of Student Union Building II
Student Union Buildings I and II are the original student union buildings before the Johnson Center student union was built and are both currently undergoing extensive renovation. Many of the student services offices such as financial aid, student health services and the office of disability services are located in one or the other of these two student union buildings. Student Union Building I features a food court and the Rathskellar restaurant.
Side of Piedmont Hall
View from in front of Piedmont Hall in the evening looking at the lights of the Southside Dining Hall in the distance
Piedmont Hall is a dorm building that is connected to its sister Tidewater Hall. Both are located next to the Southside Dining Hall and are part of the Cheseapeake dorm complex recently constructed in the Northeast Sector of the George Mason University. Along with the other dorm buildings that are part of the Chesapeake complex and the Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads dorms, Piedmont is among the newest dorm buildings at George Mason University. Each floor has, in addition to dorm rooms, lounge and study rooms. On the ground floor are meeting and class rooms. Piedmont Hall is fully air-conditioned with all bathrooms consisting of private baths in the dorm double or suite rooms. Near Piedmont Hall is a convenience store that is open until 2 am, a 24 hour Starbucks, and the Pilot House restaurant which is open until 5 am. Across from Piedmont Hall is Fenwick Library, George Mason University’s main library.