The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business announced Friday that it will open new facilities in the Washington, D.C. area this spring.
The space, housed on the top two floors of a 31-story building with expansive views of the capital region, will include classrooms, offices and event space – opening up new opportunities for the University and for the Darden School, which currently offers its executive MBA and executive education programs in the D.C. area. The new facility is awaiting approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
Darden, which over the past two years has steadily built its presence in the global gateway of Washington, will occupy the 30th and 31st floors of the modern high-rise at 1100 Wilson Boulevard in the Rosslyn district of Arlington. The building, operated by Monday Properties, is the same building in which Darden currently has an office, and several Darden staff members work in the areas of admissions, executive education and Alumni Career Services.
The new 40,000-square-foot space, which will open in the spring, was made possible by a gift from Sands Capital Management’s founder and chairman, Franks Sands Sr., who graduated from Darden in 1963, and CEO and Chief Investment Officer Frank Sands Jr., who graduated from Darden in 1994. The 31st floor will be named the “Sands Family Grounds” in their honor.
“We at Darden are incredibly grateful to the Sands, who have been instrumental in the school’s move to the Washington, D.C. area,” Darden Dean Scott Beardsley said. “Over the past two years, they have invited Darden to host programs and events in their incredible Sands Capital Management offices. Now, their transformational gift and vision are paving the way for Darden to gain a foothold in the D.C. area, from which the school can accelerate its impact in the years to come.”
“The Darden School is a special place and has been enormously influential in my life and the life of my father,” Frank Sands Jr. said. “We believe Darden is poised to be an influential and positive force at the intersection of business, public policy and leadership, and our family is thrilled to play a role in helping to establish and grow the school’s presence in this critical region.”
A Catalyst for Continued Growth
In 2016, Darden dramatically expanded the reach of its executive MBA program, which includes an intensive global executive MBA format, when it welcomed the first cohort of students to the new Rosslyn section. The initiative proved successful from the outset, attracting top professionals in a diverse array of fields from across the world. In August, Darden welcomed almost 70 new students to the Rosslyn executive MBA section for the 2017-18 academic year.
In an area with one of the highest concentrations of corporate headquarters in the world, Darden Executive Education will design and deliver learning journeys that empower individuals, teams and organizations to thrive. The entire Darden community, including faculty, staff, MBA students and alumni, will benefit from tapping into area resources and new programming, including thought leadership events and collaborative research sponsored by Darden’s research centers and initiatives.
“The Darden faculty has done an impressive job innovating and leading Darden’s charge in the Washington, D.C., area in a short period of time, and the state-of-the-art space – an extension of the Darden and UVA Grounds – will be a catalyst for continued growth,” Beardsley said. “We hope to spur new partnerships at the University of Virginia and in the region. We aim to attract and educate the next generation of purpose-driven leaders and to generate new ideas that will benefit business and society.”
Learning With a View
The LEED-EB Gold Certified building at 1100 Wilson Boulevard is located near the Potomac River and features panoramic views of Washington. Immediately outside the building is the two-block-long Freedom Park, a walkway lined with gardens that offers a quiet and green refuge in the bustling urban environment.
OTJ Architects of Washington is designing the space, implementing smart workplace design and optimal educational aesthetics.
“We are keeping in mind the strategic location in the D.C. metro area, and channeling the pragmatism of a premier business school with a 21st-century edge,” OTJ Architects Design Director Dianne Irving Oroz said.
To extend Darden’s educational experience – recognized as the world’s best – the space will include two tiered classrooms, flat classroom space, learning team rooms, open study areas, a boardroom, conference rooms and office space. A large ballroom with views of the National Mall will serve as a food service and conference space. Darden’s facilities will also include access to a 5,000-square-foot rooftop terrace offering sweeping views of the area.
“The D.C. area has the highest concentration of both Darden and University of Virginia alumni, and we are grateful for the groundswell of support we have received across the region,” said professor Greg Fairchild, associate dean for Darden’s Washington-area initiatives. “We’re building on existing relationships and forming new ones as we seek to cement Darden’s role as the preeminent graduate business school at the nexus of business and public policy.”