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W&M’s Washington Center relocating to D.C. Bar association building

  • D.C. Bar building exterior
    New home:  William & Mary’s Washington Center is moving into the District of Columbia Bar (D.C. Bar) association building at 901 4th St. NW in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood of Washington, D.C.  Photo by Gabe Cancio-Bello
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William & Mary’s Washington Center is moving into the District of Columbia Bar (D.C. Bar) association building starting this fall.

Center classes and events will take place elsewhere in that building while W&M’s new facility is renovated. That work’s completion and a finalized move-in are expected to take place in early 2022, according to Washington Center Director Roxane Adler Hickey M.Ed. '02.

The D.C. Bar is located at 901 4th St. NW in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

W&M has leased 6,930 square feet on the 7th floor of the building for 10 years, according to Sean Hughes, W&M director of real estate & strategic space planning. That is the top floor of the building, aside from the shared rooftop lounge.

“An expanded Washington Center is critical to the future of William & Mary,” said Provost Peggy Agouris. “In more than doubling its physical space, the center will be able to sufficiently grow its academic and programmatic capacity, reflecting the university’s strategic priority to expand the center as it remains an integrated part of William & Mary. We look forward to the next decade of the Washington Center and Study in D.C.”

The Washington Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and had previously leased space in the Dupont Circle neighborhood before the property’s owners decided to occupy more space in that facility, which prompted a non-renewal of W&M’s lease, Hughes said.

The D.C. Bar building, opened in 2018, is home to the largest unified bar association in the U.S., with a worldwide membership of more than 100,000 lawyers. The organization occupies two-thirds of the building and rents out the other third.

“We’re really excited about the new space,” W&M Chief Operating Officer Amy Sebring said. “Closer to Capitol Hill and in a vibrant neighborhood, the D.C. Bar building is perfectly situated to support expanded offerings both academically and in networking. Functionally perfect for the center, it also signifies William & Mary’s long-term commitment to the success of our D.C. programs.”

Preliminary plans for the new space feature a large reception/gathering area adjacent to two classrooms dedicated for W&M’s use. It will also include a large conference room, an additional row of offices for employees, a catering kitchen/breakroom and internal circulation space.

“The new space is a commitment to our current and future programs in the District of Columbia, serving as an expanded home for William & Mary’s students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Hughes said. “The experience will be one of a modern campus in the city while providing a quintessential William & Mary experience and value.”

Adler Hickey has worked for the center in various roles since 2006.

“It has been my honor to help the center grow and develop into the incredible hub for connections and community-building it has become for W&M students, faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends,” she said. “Our high-impact, experiential Study in D.C. opportunities thrive because we bring together all these important members of the W&M community.”

Recent developments include starting the Study in D.C. Scholarship Fund and W&M Washington Center Advisory Board, and launching a new continuing studies leadership course for alumni and the general public.

“I am especially excited about our move to the 901 4th Street space,” Adler Hickey said. “Having considered and toured many options, this building in this location offers us the most visibility, with incredible flexibility and exciting possibilities for the future as W&M considers even more growth. State-of-the-art classrooms and meeting space will offer all who gather there comfort and connections.

“Our collaborative team aligns our operational practices with William & Mary’s, and we appreciate our many campus partners and volunteers who make our programs possible. The new center space will enhance W&M community academic, career and networking options while remaining true to our core identity — a modern William & Mary campus in the city.”

A planned 20th anniversary celebration event on Nov. 4 will be held at the new location.

“The space will continue engaging students in the high-impact learning opportunities offered through Study in D.C. in innovative, contemporary ways,” said Washington Center Associate Director Erin Battle '13, M.Ed. '15. “For 15 years, our four Study in D.C. academic programs have provided students with guidance and support as they begin their professional journeys, and the facilities in the new Washington Center will only enhance and advance those journeys.

“Our students have interned everywhere from C-SPAN to Volunteers of America to Capitol Hill, and we are so thrilled to be able to offer classes in a space that matches the quality of those amazing experiences. Annual faculty/staff trips and year-round academic programs will allow the W&M family to gather in the Washington Center and create a community rivaled only by that built in Williamsburg.”