March 04, 2021
Lobby area of new Alexandria campus

Come on in! The University's new location in Alexandria covers more than 18,000 square feet on the second floor of the Catholic Charities USA headquarters building on Ballenger Ave.

Catholic University's presence on the higher education landscape has grown for the second time in a year with the opening of a new location in Alexandria, Va. Occupying 18,500 square feet on the second floor of Catholic Charities USA's headquarters building at 2050 Ballenger Ave., the University intends to offer a number of noncredit certificate programs utilizing the Alexandria site beginning this spring.

By summer, the Busch School of Business and Metropolitan School of Professional Studies (MSPS) look to have in place a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management program as well as other opportunities for bachelor's degree completion, paralegal studies, and workforce development courses in project management, financial planning, and human resources. The School of Engineering's Master’s in Engineering Management program also will relocate to the Catholic Charities building this summer.

The new Alexandria location joins the University's recent start up of Catholic University-Tucson in Arizona, which provides a new, Catholic-informed undergraduate option to business students in the historically underserved region. In Alexandria, CatholicU will offer more convenient access and a broader range of programs to a still-growing population of workers in Northern Virginia.

The NOVA region accounts for nearly two-thirds of Virginia’s overall population growth since 2010, with its number of residents increasing more than 12 percent during that span. The 2020 census is expected to show that Alexandria City and Arlington County grew their population by roughly 16 percent.

A man setting up computers

Naveed Shaik from CatholicU Technology Services completes the installation of some computer hardware in one of the Alexandria location's seven classrooms, each of which features the latest in instructional technology.

"Although the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic may for a time obscure the scene taking shape in front of us, there are indicators of significant unmet educational demand in the region," said University President John Garvey. "As a longtime community partner and a University that — as we've just seen in Tucson — welcomes opportunities to share our knowledge, research prowess, and a distinctively Catholic educational experience where we perceive that need, we're of course very pleased to add Alexandria to the places where talented and motivated students can find The Catholic University of America."

A five-year agreement with Catholic Charities USA has enabled the University's renovation of a portion of the second floor of the organization's building into seven classroom spaces of various sizes, as well as meeting rooms, a break area and kitchen, staff and other supporting offices, and a light and airy lounge overlooking Courthouse Square. Additional square footage is available on the second floor to allow for future expansion. The Columbus School of Law also was part of the planning process for the new Alexandria site, reflecting some of the University's other long-term planning for its foray across the Potomac River.

Its new location in Alexandria puts CatholicU in closer proximity to populations of potential students, specifically working professionals, who might find it difficult to reach the University's main campus in Northeast D.C. at rush hour. The majority of classes in Alexandria will be offered in the evening.

Helping drive recent population growth throughout NOVA is Amazon's new HQ2 expansion, which currently has about 400 employees working in Arlington and an additional 10,000 across Virginia. Amazon plans to expand its workforce to 25,000 employees in Virginia over the next decade.

A lounge on the new campus

A welcoming lounge space overlooking Courthouse Square. In addition to the nearby federal courthouse, other close neighbors in the city's Carlyle District include the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Science Foundation.

While very much a market sector that Catholic University seeks to serve, MSPS Dean Vincent Kiernan said he hopes the Alexandria location will expand and enrich the University's relationship with many other constituencies, as well.

"Catholic University also has a long history with our men and women in the military, both active duty and veterans," Kiernan pointed out. "Clearly, with the Pentagon and other installations nearby, there is a concentration of these households in the vicinity. But we really expect to appeal to a broad base of students and we continue to assess educational needs in and around Alexandria to help us pinpoint other offerings that would attract significant numbers of students."

Situated within the city's Carlyle District, the Catholic Charities building is a mere five-minute walk from two Metrorail stations and counts the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a federal courthouse, and the National Science Foundation among its neighbors.

“Alexandria is proud to welcome Catholic University as a provider of high-quality education and training to our working professionals and the region’s active duty and retired military," said Mayor Justin Wilson. "Alexandria’s workforce is strong and resilient, and we welcome partners who are committed to the continued growth, development, and prosperity of our residents. This new addition to our higher education landscape supports our economic growth goals by continuing to attract new organizations and supporting the many businesses that already call our city and Northern Virginia home.”

Both the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia, the commonwealth’s education regulatory body, have approved the University's plan to offer programming in Alexandria.