Construction continues as MPA opens for class

Students arriving in the new Media and Public Affairs building for class Monday will find a work in progress.

On Friday workers were laying the brick sidewalk surrounded by a crane, masonry saws and pneumatic hammers as they raced to complete the facility for the move-in this week.

“We have a certificate of occupancy for the lower level and the third floor as well as the access to these areas,” said Steven Siegel, director of operations for the facility. “Those areas are ours.”

GW delayed the opening of the $21 million building by 13 days, relocating all classes scheduled for the facility to various locations across campus. Lack of manpower to finish the job contributed to the delay, said Gretchen King, director of Media Relations.

“The classroom areas are ready to go,” Siegel said.

Classes that require computer labs will not move in Monday. The lab areas are not yet completed and will require additional time to finish. These classes will remain in alternate spaces until they are complete, Siegel said. He said there is no definite deadline for those rooms, but he anticipates that construction will be complete by the March 7 grand opening.

Although construction will continue through Monday, Siegel said students would not be disturbed from their studies.

“Any construction noise is considered unacceptable,” Siegel said. “We are changing around the shifts to prevent any construction noise while classes are going on. That means from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday there will be no construction noise. We have the students in mind, and don’t want them disturbed.”

Students and faculty said they are glad to be moving into the long awaited, state-of-the-art facility.

“I had to have classes moved to the XX Building and the Hillel,” said Sean Aday, assistant professor of media and public affairs. “Teaching (Journalism 100) in the chapel was a little strange because there was no podium to teach from.”

“I am glad to finally be moving in there,” said Josh Zembik, a sophomore whose political communication and political science classes moved to Hillel.

“It was bizarre taking a presidency class with the Torah as a backdrop for the professor,” he said.

Aday said students have adjusted to the alternate plan.

“The kids didn’t have any complaints about (the relocation), I told them on the first day of classes what the situation was and they were all right with it,” Aday said.

Students will be able to use the ground level entrances in the building and attend classes on the third floor and lower level.

“Everything will be ready,” Siegel said. “The access ways will all be open to students and inside we will have a concierge service that will direct people where to go and have information for them about the facility.”

Faculty offices on the fourth floor are also under construction and are scheduled to open in a few weeks.

“I am not worried about the delay in moving my office,” Aday said, adding that he thinks people have been very patient with the delays.

Monday’s opening ends the wait for many who have been excited about the project, Zembik said

“I am glad that we will finally be able to go in and use the building,” he said. “It has been a real mystery.”

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