Fourteen freshmen residents of the Hall on Virginia Avenue became first-hand casualties of GW’s hastily planned expansion when they were moved out of their rooms because of structural damage on the seventh and eight floors.
Students complained about leaky ceilings three weeks prior to leaving their rooms. The strong rain of Hurricane Floyd exacerbated HOVA’s existing structural problems.
Perhaps if GW had more foresight – taking more time and planning to turn the Premier Hotel into a residence hall – the problem would have been avoided.
Freshman year is supposed to be a time to get acquainted with other freshmen and find a niche in the community. Instead these 14 students, through no fault of their own, must relocate and begin the process of adjustment all over again. And some of them will have the choice to return, which leaves them in limbo.
Compounding the problem is the fact that many seventh and eighth floor residents chose to live in HOVA specifically to participate in the Watergate 723 and Healthy Lifestyles communities, new living and learning programs created for HOVA. Community Living and Learning Center officials said that the affected students will still be able to participate in the special programs. Yet the purpose of “living and learning” is ultimately defeated when members are not living on the “living and learning” floor.
Without sufficiently improving its facilities, GW admitted more applicants than ever before, and enrolled the largest freshman class in University history. That’s a formula for failure. And students felt the growing pains of University expansion last week in the rain.
The University now is making these students a priority and are trying to make the best out of a bad situation. Many steps have been taken to make the students feel more comfortable. But 14 freshmen must pack up and start over in different residence halls because the University failed to make them a priority in the first place.