Construction delays continue on campus

A partial opening of the Health and Wellness Center originally scheduled for April 1 may never happen because of construction delays that have plagued projects at the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses throughout the academic year.

The University awaits a partial occupancy permit that will allow it to open the weight room and racquetball courts to students before the semester ends, said Robert Chernak, vice president of Student and Academic Support Services. If GW does not partially open the building, the facility may not open until mid-May or June, he said.

“The problem in terms of the delays is the multi-purpose room and gymnasiums, because once you bring wood into the building you need to let it cure for three weeks before you lay it down; because it has to acclimate to the building.”

Executive Director of Facilities Development Roger Lyons did not return numerous phone calls to his office. Other Facilities Development officials were unavailable for comment.

The building’s exterior is finished and the lower levels, which contain the racquetball courts and weight room, are close to completion, Chernak said.

The building must meet all safety and fire specifications and elevators must pass inspection for a partial occupancy permit.

GW is also experiencing construction delays with the Mount Vernon Campus tennis courts and lacrosse fields, which were scheduled to open in March in time for practice. The athletic facilities will be ready by fall semester, Chernak said.

Chernak said the University is unsure whether the renovated portion of Mount Vernon’s Somers Hall will be complete by the fall, although he said workers would come close to meeting the mark. The opening of an expansion to the residence hall was pushed to spring 2002 from September earlier this year.

GW also closed off the 21st Street entrance to the Marvin Center until April next year, when the addition to the building is scheduled for completion. Workers are restricted from using loud machinery earlier than 9 a.m. and will not work later than about 8 p.m. most days, Brown said.

“Most of the services should be OK in terms of carrying on regular operations,” Chernak said. “The pedestrian traffic flow is going to be the major problem, (but) students will get used to it as the year progresses.”

Marvin Center restrooms are being renovated to allow wheelchair access and meet Americans With Disablilities Act standards. The project will be completed before Commencement May 20, Brown said.

In late May, Marvin Center workers will strip the floors on the first floor and ground level and lay tile. They will also construct a new Ticketmaster office on the ground floor across from WRGW’s studio. The bookstore will expand onto the 21st Street courtyard.

The Dakota is also undergoing repairs after University officials found penetration by ground water, said Kevin Muldoon, director of real estate services. Only one first-floor room in the front of the building was affected, he said.

Residents returned from Spring Break to find the main entrance of the building closed. Residents’ security keys, which are normally programmed only for front door access have been switched to open the back door, Muldoon said. The construction that began March 19 should be finished by early next week, he said.

The Media and Public Affairs building, which has yet to host all the classes it was scheduled to hold, will have most technical areas finished in the summer, Chernak said.

-Jason Steinhardt contributed to this report

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