University officials hold plans for Tysons expansion

Mason officials are holding off on a Tysons expansion for the time being (photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).
Mason officials are holding off on a Tysons expansion for the time being (photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

For the past year or so, the George Mason University administration has discussed the possibility of expanding the regional campuses to include Tysons.

“[Fairfax County] reached out to George Mason University to have a presence in Tysons [Corner] in the future, so we did a lot of planning and evaluating the feasibility of building classrooms and establishing a physical site,” said Kathleen Q. Johnson, assistant vice president for regional campuses.   

At present, Mason is not actively seeking to expand into the Tysons area. This decision was made keeping many factors in mind such as the expectation of a new administration team and the planning of a new strategic vision. Johnson said it was better not to introduce an expansion along with so many other changes.

The current plan of action is simply to focus on what Mason has already and to build on it.

“We are discussing a small, initial location but [the] main energy right now [is] on using expanded space in our Arlington location,” Provost Peter Stearns wrote in an email.

Even though the university does not feel the timing is right to expand into Tysons, Johnson and Stearns both alluded that the option is still open due to the significant opportunity that expansion could bring to the Mason community.

“We do work in areas like Geographic Information Systems Training in Tysons now, but [in] scattered locations; and our real estate program might flourish there even more than in Fairfax,” Stearns wrote.

The Tysons area houses several business headquarters such as Capital One Bank and Hilton Worldwide. The region is also well known for numerous opportunities in the technology industry. Intelsat S.A., a notable satellite company, recently decided to relocate their headquarters to Tysons in 2012.

“Really, this is an example of exploring an opportunity, performing a preliminary feasibility analysis, and deciding this wasn’t the right time to pursue it any further,” Johnson said. “However, the university recognizes how important Tysons is, not only to Fairfax County, but also to the Washington area. We have a long-term commitment to supporting our partners and stakeholders in the Tysons area, with or without a physical presence.”

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