Delays push back Health and Wellness Center opening

University officials are shooting for an early August opening of the new Health and Wellness Center at 23rd and G streets, after construction delays have caused the University to postpone a series of opening date projections.

“The completion schedule is up in the air,” said Andre Julian, assistant athletic director. “We still have August 1 as our day, but it’s probably going to be sometime in the first week of August, not necessarily the first.”

The early August opening will not include the building’s swimming pool, which Julian said the department hopes will be open by the beginning of fall classes.

The swimming pool structure has several cracks, which has delayed its completion. Julian said that the cracks were not the fault of the company that installed it.

“I don’t know if it’s anyone’s fault,” he said. “I think the design is standard.”

Julian said the building’s opening has been delayed because GW experienced a problem getting construction workers to work on the building.

Although the building will not open for students until August, it is now open for athletic center staff to clean the building. Julian said that it is necessary to clean the exercise equipment before the building opens.

Before the Health and Wellness Center receives a partial occupancy permit, the building must pass a series of inspections – an on-going process that began in late May. Julian said he hopes to start moving office equipment from the Smith Center to the new building by next week.

The fire marshal is scheduled to conduct the final inspection in late June.

The changing completion dates have caused some confusion.

GW charged students who registered for summer classes the $7.50 a credit hour fee that students will pay next year but refunded the fee after it was determined the building would not be available for summer classes, Julian said.

The equipment was also delivered a few months ago, when the University hoped to have the building ready for April. Since that time, the equipment sat in the fitness room with dust covers.

“Ideally you want to get the equipment just before (opening), but because of the previous opening dates (plans) got scuttled,” he said.

All GW students will pay the mandatory $7.50 per credit hour fee as part of their tuition beginning next fall. Faculty and staff will pay a $295 to access the facility. This has caused some concern among faculty, Julian said.

“They have voiced concern,” Julian said. “I hear it all the time. But this is a step up from anything in the Smith Center.”

The athletic department has planned a trial membership period for faculty and staff, which could range from one week to one month, so that University employees can decide if they wish to pay the fee.

Although the zoning permit for the building currently allows only individuals in the University community to use the building, Julian said the University would like to eventually expand membership to the outside community. The building has a membership office on the first floor, which will function as a smaller version of a GWorld office, so that students who experience problems will not need to go to the office on the fifth floor of the Marvin Center, he said.

The President’s Club, an expanded locker room with wood-grained lockers, individual shower stalls and steam rooms, will also be available for those who are willing to pay an extra fee. Julian said the President’s Club currently has 100 to 200 members.

Julian said programming for the building has not been finalized, and he has scheduled a meeting for next week to further define plans for the building when it opens in August.

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