By Adam Tope
ANC 3F Commissioner and Neighbor
Over the next year, the commercial heart of Forest Hills, Van Ness and N. Cleveland Park will be going through a significant transformation as the University of the District of Columbia begins construction of its new $40 million student center.
The student center will be located on the corner of Connecticut Ave. and Van Ness St. NW, on what’s now the plaza near the Metro entrance. Construction began in late March with the installation of a perimeter fence and is expected to continue for at least a year.
The student center will be an exciting facility for those interested in “green” architecture. It’s being built as a LEED Platinum building, with a green roof and some of the latest energy-saving features.
While the student center will add a state-of-the-art green building to our neighborhood, it will more importantly bring many new amenities to the UDC campus. These amenities include a new fitness center, a ballroom and other conference facilities, offices for student-run organizations, UDC-related retail services and a new food court, which will feature high quality food not normally seen in a college cafeteria. It is expected that most of these facilities will be open to the public so that the student center can become a meeting point for UDC students and the community.
As construction progresses, UDC will continue to hold quarterly Community Task Force meetings which are open to the public. The Community Task Force is a place where neighbors can ask questions and bring up issues with the construction and other UDC issues. During construction, it is expected that Connecticut Avenue will not be impacted, but parts of Van Ness Street near UDC will have a curb lane closed to parking and pedestrian traffic.
The student center is an exciting development for our neighborhood and a welcome addition to the UDC campus.