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Wednesday, May 16, 2012 10:50 p.m.

University celebrates groundbreaking for new public health building

University President Steven Knapp, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Margaret Hamburg and Mayor Vincent Gray hold shovels to mark the groundbreaking for the new School of Public Health and Health Services building at an event Wednesday in University Yard. Ashley Lucas | Contributing Photo Editor

Government officials, administrators, faculty and students gathered at a ceremony Wednesday in University Yard, marking the groundbreaking for the new School of Public Health and Health Services building.

University President Steven Knapp said the $75 million building at 24th Street and New Hampshire Avenue, SPHHS’s first standalone home, would be a “spectacular addition” to the Washington Circle area.

“It is the fastest growing research arm of the University,” Knapp said. “I think it is inherently a disciplinary school because it touches on so many areas that the University has strengths in, in law, in policy, in medical sciences, health sciences, in mathematics and statistics, and everything comes together in a field of public health.”

Projected for completion in spring 2014, the structure will centralize the school’s seven departments under one roof for the first time, Dean Lynn Goldman said.

Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Margaret Hamburg praised Goldman for her leadership on the project, saying she is the “right person in the right place at the right time.”

“Public health must be our enterprise and I know that it is the vision of dean Goldman and everyone at the University,” Hamburg said. “Public health matters to each and every one of us, to the communities that we live in, and to the well being of our globe.”

The University held a symbolic demolition March 2 at the Warwick Memorial Building – which previously housed the GW Hospital’s radiation oncology unit ­– a week before construction began to make way for the new structure.

Mayor Vincent Gray said at Wednesday’s ceremony that the school would provide an “enormous contribution” to the University and the District.

“We expect public health to increasingly dominate the landscape in this nation,” Gray said.

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    Congrats on the new building, what a great investment. I think all Universities who can should invest more in their health departments. It will get students to want to study health and hopefully have a career in the health industry which can gradually grow.

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