Superdorm forces housing crunch

by Jeremy Diamond

Residence halls will squeeze extra students into rooms and place sophomores in an upperclassman building to make room for the 550 students who will be displaced by "superdorm" construction this summer.

The housing office will convert about 100 triples in Munson, JBKO and Guthridge into quads and move sophomores into the traditionally upperclassman Amsterdam Hall this fall, after GW begins gutting three underclassman halls to create the new 850-bed hall.

Transfer students will be placed into the all-singles Mitchell Hall, rather than Lafayette Hall, to make room for more freshmen. Lafayette Hall's about 100 beds will go back to freshmen to make up for the closure of Crawford Hall.

The "superdorm" will add 310 beds to campus housing and will include common areas, faculty suites, affinity housing and retail space. Located between H and I streets, the $130 million building will replace Crawford Hall and sophomore residence halls West End and The Schenley.

During construction, the University must continue to comply with a D.C. law requiring freshmen and sophomores to live in University housing.

Weinshel said he was confident that his office could accommodate all students who request campus housing, despite the crunch for beds.

“There will be some fewer beds, but based on the inventory and demand, we’ll be able to do it all,” Weinshel said.

Housing rates for next year will be determined by the Board of Trustees in February. Weinshel said he expects prices to go down in rooms that will add an extra resident.

About half the rooms in Amsterdam Hall, which houses about 450 juniors and seniors, will go to sophomores next fall. The hall, which houses the Focus on Fall Abroad Community, will also expand academic residential communities for science and engineering students.

As part of the housing shake-up, Greek chapters will apply to live in Building JJ, a three-floor environmentally friendly hall on F Street.

Director of the Center for Student Engagement Tim Miller said the move is an effort to allow the Greek community, which already takes up Strong Hall and International House, to house more members together on campus. Twenty-three chapters leased space on campus last year, 14 of which resided in on-campus townhouses.

In past years, those unable to live in Greek housing have opted to create affinities, such as sisters of Alpha Phi who lived together in West End. Miller, who is also associate dean of students, said he hopes the additional Greek housing space will open up more spaces in affinity housing for students involved in other organizations. GW also added an 11th sorority, Kappa Delta, this year.

“As we’re continuing to see how Greek life is leading to higher completion rates, it’s a community I want to support,” Miller said.

Rachael Abram, president of GW's Panhellenic Association, said all chapters will be able to apply for the space. It will be awarded by an external committee that will consider "a variety factors, such as previous years' Greek Excellence scores and an application submitted by the chapter," she said.

–Chloé Sorvino contributed reporting.

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