Marymount University said it plans to renovate a historic building that’s sat empty in recent years into a new campus center, with a Barnes & Noble bookstore, gathering space and a cafe.
A $2.8 million gift from the Reinsch Pierce Family Foundation is fully funding the new, 6,240-square-foot Reinsch Pierce Family Campus Hub, a university spokesman said. It will house a Barnes & Noble student bookstore, a “spirit shop” with university merchandise, Lola’s Café and space for faculty, students and visitors.
The former Ireton Hall has sat empty for more than two years in the center of the Catholic, liberal arts university’s main campus in Arlington. Before that, it had housed classrooms and other university department space since originally standing as the site of horse stables on a 1920 estate.
The project’s architect is D.C. firm Ayers Saint Gross, while D.C.-based Bennett Group is leading construction as contractor. Renovations have already started, with a completion date slated for the early fall of this year, per the university.
The cafe, which will serve as a dining and social space for students focused on healthy food choices, is named after Lola Reinsch, president of the Reinsch Pierce Family Foundation. She’s also served on the university’s board of trustees for roughly 30 years and is CEO of Arlington-based Reinsch Cos., a real estate development and property management firm — and, in a statement, pointed to this as the latest in her family’s “multigenerational support of Marymount,” crucial she said as the only university that calls Arlington home.
The foundation had previously given $1 million toward the construction of the Emerson G. Reinsch Library and $1 million for a courtyard at the Ballston campus. President Irma Becerra, in a statement, called this latest donation “transformational” for the school’s way of life.
Other ongoing construction projects on Marymount’s campus include a new preschool inside the library, which is scheduled to open later this year. The university has also proposed building new athletic facilities on county land near its campus in the Old Dominion neighborhood — a project that a university official told the Washington Business Journal last year would be as part of a broader community-accessible green space to replace a current salt dome.
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