University devises new campus plan

Amid the bustle of renovations to GW’s campus, administrators are working on a new campus plan to illustrate how sections of the campus will be used in the future.

The campus plan outlines the types of buildings currently on campus and defines potential development sites.

“It is a clear road map to how we must build on the campus,” said Al Ingle, associate vice president for business affairs.

Ingle said the University is working with consultants on aspects of the new plan, including the mapping of the campus, traffic analyses, development and historical preservation. While a new plan has not been created, Ingle said the future of the current GW Hospital site and proposals for a new science building and a new residence hall are being considered.

Ingle said a committee in the vice president and treasurer’s office is considering uses for the hospital site. No site has been chosen for the science building, and the University still is considering whether it will build a new residence hall or purchase an existing building.

The University is required by city law to create and submit a new campus plan every 15 years.

Contention has arisen over whether the current plan runs until the year 2000, which means the new plan would have to be submitted by December 1999, or if it is valid until 2001, which means GW would have an extra year to submit the new plan.

The current plan was initiated in 1985 and completed in 1988, but was not approved by the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment until 1993.

GW senior general counsel Charles Barber said the University submitted the current plan to run until 2001, but the BZA approved it to the year 2000. Barber said the issue is pending before the BZA and may be decided at its Nov. 4 meeting.

Ingle said community leaders and the BZA has requested copies of the new plan three to six months before the previous plan expires, which means the plan must be ready in the summer or fall before the BZA is scheduled to vote on it.

When GW decides to construct a new building or renovate an existing one, it must gain approval from the BZA before the construction can occur. The BZA decides if the proposed construction is in line with the uses listed in the campus plan. Ingle said the University has attempted to make the definition of the possible land use as clear as possible to avoid potential problems with zoning when a final decision on a use for the site is made.

The local Advisory Neighborhood Commission repeatedly has contested GW’s plans to build new additions to the campus, Ingle said. The ANC opposed the construction of the health and wellness center and New Hall and has expressed concerns about potential parking problems that may arise with the construction of a new hospital.

“Certain people in the community are unhappy related to their inability to find a parking space or the behavior of a small minority of students, and they find fault with the campus plan,” Ingle said.

Ingle said the consultants will work to make the University’s intentions clear in the campus plan. He said he expects the next campus plan will take less time to gain approval than the current plan did.

“I think it will go smoother,” Ingle said. “There is a clearer direction.”

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