President Washington has shared an open letter to George Mason University neighbors regarding the pending West Campus (Fairfax) temporary cricket and baseball stadium


An open letter to George Mason University’s neighbors:

In recent weeks, news has spread of a process to develop the west campus of George Mason University in Fairfax that is envisioned to transform the university’s support facilities for students, faculty, and staff. Understandably, nearby residents also have raised concerns that this project will bring unwelcome changes that we are addressing but need to communicate more directly about. This letter is the start of what we intend to be a robust, sustained, and fruitful dialogue with stakeholders about this exciting process. It is a long letter because we have heard that community members first and foremost are eager to learn specifics about this process. Future communications will be briefer, but I am addressing the biggest call first: for transparency.



The west campus of George Mason University is a long-underleveraged part of our Fairfax presence, and the university’s long-term master plan has for years envisioned development that will benefit our students and the greater university community, which is the reason that land was originally granted to the university decades ago.

We continue to grow as a university, and our infrastructure continues to age, particularly our athletics facilities. For instance, the Field House is now 42 years old and beginning to fail. Our baseball field is not up to standard for intercollegiate play. Our students and their fans deserve better.

Since November 2022, the university has engaged Brailsford & Dunlavey to explore all of the possible ways we could develop the west campus. The work has been purely exploratory. To be clear, nothing has been approved by the George Mason University Board of Visitors except for pursuit of a temporary stadium to be used jointly by George Mason’s baseball team and Washington’s new professional cricket team, The Washington Freedom.

We are working with the City of Fairfax and Fairfax County to assess how a temporary stadium will impact infrastructure and the surrounding community.

The sudden emergence of this short-term opportunity to develop a temporary ball field has caused alarm and frustration in surrounding communities, which are understandable, regrettable, and not our intention.


As many now know from the January 29, 2024 online town hall we offered on this topic, George Mason was first approached in 2022 by the owners of The Washington Freedom with the proposal to serve as a temporary home for this new professional cricket team. Given that a significant portion of our student body has direct or indirect ties with countries where cricket is very popular, this proposal made good sense to pursue, especially given that benefits of a temporary facility will also improve our athletics program. While currently obscure in the United States, cricket is the world’s second most-viewed sport behind soccer. Its introduction in six American cities in 2023, including the greater Washington, DC area, signals the arrival of this region on a world stage that over time can bring prestige and opportunities previously not available.

With all of that said, I want to be clear that the only structure that has been considered and approved by the Board of Visitors is a temporary stadium, which is a smaller, simpler version of what a permanent stadium would be. Nothing else is being proposed at this time.


Since we held our January 29, 2024 town hall, nearby residents have expressed a very clear set of concerns that we hear, that we have been working on, and that we wish to work directly with you on. Those concerns in summary are threefold:


  • Increased traffic on streets surrounding neighborhoods, as well as neighborhood through-traffic and neighborhood street parking
  • Noise and light pollution
  • Environmental concerns of increased litter, loss of green space, and disruption of storm water ways and wetlands


Due diligence

We continue to consider the impact development of the west campus will have on surrounding traffic, environment, and quality of life, including the many substantial benefits it would bring. We look forward to sitting down with stakeholder groups to work through the expressed concerns together as we consider any development of the west campus.

Next step: Connecting

We are planning a series of community engagements to continue the dialogue and have more of a two-way conversation, as we share more about our activities on the west campus. We also look forward to introducing you more extensively to the Washington Freedom and the sport of cricket.

Digital resources

We are establishing a more robust website with comprehensive information, FAQs and information on upcoming engagements that we look forward to sharing with you very soon. And we will continue to communicate via email to anyone who wishes to receive news and updates on this project – so by all means, please forward this message to anyone you think would wish to receive it.

Our commitment

George Mason University exists to serve the Northern Virginia community. As a national Top 50 public research university, just 52 years old in a state where higher education began more than 330 years ago, we have become Virginia’s largest, most inclusive, and highest-ranked university for innovation and upward mobility by being All Together Different. The first two words of that rally cry are All Together. Our hope with this project is to improve the community along with our university. How we get there is a matter of great discussion and debate, but we wish to do that with you – all together.


So, let’s work together.




Gregory Washington