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The GW Hatchet

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University marks start of construction for public health school

University President Steven Knapp, left, and School of Public Health and Health Services Dean Lynn Goldman, right, held hammers Friday to commemorate the start of construction for the school's new building. Kierran Petersen | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Frankie Kane.

Administrators, students and alumni gathered Friday at Warwick Memorial Building to start the structure’s symbolic demolition to make way for the School of Public Health and Health Services’ first standalone home.

The new $75 million building will centralize the 14-year-old school’s seven departments under one roof at New Hampshire Avenue and 24th Street, off Washington Circle.

“On your mark, get set, pretend,” University President Steven Knapp said as a handful of administrators posed wearing hard hats and clutching hammers.

SPHHS Dean Lynn Goldman said the new building will offer the school a common space to host informal meetings. Public health courses are held in Ross Hall, home to the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, forcing professors to schedule many classes for late in the afternoon or evening when rooms are available.

She added that a central location would foster collaboration among the school’s different departments.

“We are at an important intersection in time and space,” Goldman said.

The actual demolition of the Warwick Memorial Building – which previously housed the GW Hospital’s radiation oncology unit – will begin in the next week. That department moved to a temporary site near Tompkins Hall this semester.

The SPHHS building is slated to open by spring 2014.

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