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Posted at 5:46 PM ET, 03/ 9/2011

Graduate School to expand in Southwest

By Jonathan O'Connell

The Graduate School USA, formerly an affiliate of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, plans to more than double its physical size in coming years by opening a new campus in a planned redevelopment of the District’s Southwest waterfront.

The school serves about 200,000 people annually in mostly non-degree courses, many aimed at preparing students for work in the federal government.

But Jerry Ice, president and chief executive, said the school needs more space. The 47 existing classrooms the school leases at L’Enfant Plaza are nearly booked every day from early morning until 10 p.m., he said. The school will lease an additional 190,000 square feet — it has about 130,000 now — in a building planned for the corner of Maine Avenue and Ninth Street SW, part of a nearly $2 billion, 10-year project by developers PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette.

“In a sense, there is no more room at the inn,” Ice said.

Ice said Graduate School USA will begin tailoring new programs to meet the needs of city government. “We have not been that kind of provider . . . and we think we are in a good position in a number of key issue areas to provide that locally,” he said.

The school also plans to open the doors of its new educational center to other colleges, universities and nonprofits offering programs that would help D.C. residents acquire the skills they need to compete for local jobs. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and members of the D.C. Council are expected to attend a press conference to unveil the plans Thursday afternoon.

By Jonathan O'Connell  | March 9, 2011; 5:46 PM ET
Categories:  DC  
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