Lately, the MCI Center has been at the fore of GW students’ minds. The question of where Commencement will be held continues to frustrate and worry students. Our views about Commencement are still the same – the Ellipse tradition should continue. But we too can appreciate the importance of the new MCI Center to the downtown D.C. area.
The MCI Center long has been the dream of Washington Wizards owner, and GW Board of Trustees member, Abe Pollin. The Center has created about 900 jobs for D.C. residents. This number is just of those working inside the arena; it does not count the many new businesses opening in the arena’s vicinity. The Center is projected to bring tens of millions of dollars to the city.
Downtown has a chance of rebirth. Years of neglect and municipal mismanagement resulted in an exodus of people and businesses from the area. At dusk, the area was virtually deserted; now the Center will draw thousands of people to the area. Local restaurants and stores hope to ride on the coattails of the arena’s expected financial success. District residents hope the dilapidated downtown soon will be just a bad memory.
GW students can experience the MCI Center for themselves at the Franklin National Bank Classic basketball tournament this weekend. Fans can see the men’s basketball team take on Penn in the first round. But regardless of how good all the seats in the house are supposed to be, and how nifty the interactive video games are, students should not find themselves being wowed by a laser show at the MCI Center May 17.