Faculty and staff lounge opens in Johnson Center

Faculty and staff of George Mason University now have their very own place to shoot the breeze on campus.

The faculty and staff lounge opened Feb. 3 in a space once occupied by the Bistro on the ground floor of the Johnson Center. Auxiliary Enterprises and Human Resources and Payroll will host an official dedication of the space from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 12.

The lounge has no formal name, but that issue will be addressed by a university naming committee soon, said Marc Fournier, assistant vice president of Mason Business Services. The lounge is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; there is no food service.

Human Resources staff hopes the lounge will be a place where employees can go to “change up their scenery,” bring lunch or have coffee, said Janet Walker, life/work connections manager for Human Resources and Payroll at Mason. “From a wellness perspective, it’s nice to have a place where they can relax and rejuvenate a little bit.”

Soft music will be played and a muted television will be set to a news channel with closed captioning.

Faculty and staff members had been requesting a space to congregate for coffee or lunch for some time, Fournier said. Several offices on campus came together to discuss using the space as a lounge.

“[Mason] Facilities Planning and Facilities Management worked collectively to make some quick improvements to the space by adding some soft seating that was repurposed from the Fenwick Library renovation,” Fournier said.  

The lounge still serves as a programmable space for university events in the evenings; Mason Student Centers, Mason Dining and University Events will work together to coordinate lounge hours with any events scheduled for the space, such as orientation or graduation activities. In those cases, Room 117 in the Johnson Center will be used as a backup.

Plans are in the works to make some light renovations to the space during the summer. These include separating the former kitchen area, adding needed storage space, bringing in some softer elements to the lounge/meeting area and incorporating a small retail establishment similar to Starbucks.