WASHINGTON — George Washington University has opened a massive new Science and Engineering Hall, representing its aspirations to become a major research university.

The $275 million hall formally opened Wednesday. Totaling 500,000 square feet, the new hall is the largest scientific facility among universities in Washington and one of the largest in the region.

The hall significantly enhances GW’s laboratory space and classrooms. One lab features a 20-ton crane to facilitate research on large structures such as bridge beams. A teaching tower at the center of the building includes labs for software engineering, robotics and circuitry.

In the last decade, GW says its research funding has grown 80 percent, ranking 93rd nationally in federal research funding.

President Steven Knapp says GW must be strong in the sciences to be a comprehensive university.

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