This post is Part 2 of 2 parts. Part 1 can be read here.
Fairfax, Virginia George Mason College’s New Home in 1964
Once moved from its original location in Bailey’s Crossroads, George Mason College would now operate out of it’s new quarters in Fairfax.
The first four buildings were quite spartan in design, appearance, amenities (with the exception of the air conditioning), and name. Each would have two levels and a basement which doubled as a fallout shelter. The exteriors were to be of red brick with white vinyl-coated concrete columns. The buildings would hold a total of four lecture rooms, four labs, half a dozen classrooms, administrative and faculty offices, library, bookstore, dining, and locker rooms for physical education. Their names would be taken from the points of the compass: North, South, East, and West.
As completion of the campus at Fairfax approached excitement began to grow. College functions once taking place in and around Bailey’s Crossroads shifted to its new adopted home in Fairfax. Instead of the Alexandria Episcopal Seminary, the 1964 Final Day Exercises took place in the Fairfax Town Hall on June 8. New college director Robert Reid, who assumed the directorship from the retiring John Finley on January 1, 1964, brought groups both large and small by the construction site for tours. One such group, the Fairfax City Chamber of Commerce, presented Reid and the college with the Chamber’s first ever honorary membership during the last week of July. (The Virginian, Friday July 31, 1964).
The Collage at Fairfax officially opened on Monday, September 14 to 356 registered students. The original faculty consisted of 7 full and 18 part-time instructors. Though the weather on that day was a pleasant seventy-five degrees, Mason’s new director, Dr. Robert Reid, could not help but point out to the Fairfax Times that Mason was the only College in the Washington area that was fully air conditioned (Fairfax Times, Friday 9/18/64, p.13). Perhaps the most sorely missed amenities were food service and a lounge for the students and faculty. During the first week vending machines were hastily set up in a study hall. Mason would later set up an actual dining hall, the Ordinary, in the South Building. The Ordinary would remain there until Student Union I was built in 1974.
Though the university has added about 450 acres and over 100 buildings to the Fairfax campus, the original four still stand and are still in use today.
The original 16 mm film was approximately 12 minutes long, and unlike that of the move from Bailey’s Crossroads, contained audio. In this film George Mason College Director, Robert Reid, gives the above mentioned tour of the nearly-finished campus to the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce during the last week of April 1964. He is presented with an honorary membership by members of the Chamber, and later an announcer interviews tour group members, including Dr. Reid.
Some Still Images from the Video
Segments from the Video