GW readies for more construction

Several University construction projects moved closer to fruition during the semester break, said Al Ingle, GW’s associate vice president for business affairs.

Construction crews broke ground on the health and wellness center, which will house most services offered in the Smith Center, including free weight and workout rooms, and new space for recreational sports activities and aerobics classes. Ingle said the project is scheduled for completion in November 2000.

“By the term breaking ground, I don’t mean the symbolic ground breaking,” Ingle said. “The crew demolished the building that was on the lot and began removing some blacktop and put up the construction fences.”

The University is in the process of securing the final construction permits for the center.

“(The contractors) will start some work in February or March, but they don’t want to begin a project and then have to stop because of the weather,” he said.

Ingle said the budget already has been allocated for the project. The final budget is higher than the original estimate, but Ingle said an increase in cost as work on a project progresses is normal.

Progress on the ground floor of the Marvin Center also gained momentum during winter break. Mike Gargano, assistant vice president for Student Academic Support Services, said many of the final hurdles to construction were cleared by obtaining the correct permits and preparing for the demolition of walls on the ground floor.

Demolition on the ground floor began earlier this month, when interior walls were knocked down to open space for the renovations, he said.

Ingle and Gargano said they hope the ground floor renovations will be finished by April or May so services that were relocated to the second floor during renovation can return to the ground floor.

Gargano said the project’s next step will be the renovation of student office spaces on the fourth floor.

“The renovation of the fourth floor is contingent on the completion of the ground floor, so some of the offices on the fourth floor can be relocated to the second floor,” Gargano said.

Gargano said the second floor will not have enough space to house all the student offices. Some groups will be left without office space until renovations to the fourth floor are complete. Gargano said the increased student office space on the refurbished fourth floor will be worth the wait.

Ingle said mid-campus quad next to Gelman Library will undergo more construction when the weather gets warmer. He said Building Z, behind Lisner Auditorium, will be demolished and the site made ready for the construction of a caf?. He said the graduation bricks, which were removed during construction, will be replaced.

Before the caf? can be built, the University must receive approval from the city’s zoning board. Ingle said he does not expect opposition to the caf?.

“(The caf?) won’t face any street or be on public space in any way,” he said.

Other projects are in the works, including an addition to the GW Law School, which Ingle said is in the final design phase and should be completed by August 2000.

In addition, construction of the new School of Media and Public Affairs building, which was recently approved by the zoning board, is scheduled to begin in August or September and should be complete by September or October 2000, Ingle said.

Ingle said he still is waiting for zoning board approval of a new hospital and an addition to the parking garage located on 22nd Street between H and I streets (see related story). He said the board will review the applications in March and make a decision in April.

“One of the reasons we think (the board) will approve the parking addition is that it will give us 200 more spaces,” Ingle said.

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