City Hall lacks basic facilities

City Hall residents say they are dissatisfied by poor service in a building they say is still not properly prepped for student use. While their three-month wait for ethernet connections ended this week, they still await adequate laundry facilities.

The building’s 540 residents share four washers and four dryers, which is equivalent to 136 people for each set.

In contrast, 440 New Hall residents – who are also mostly upperclassmen – share 14 washers and 16 dryers, according to Community Director Jed Frei. That makes one machine for every 32 residents.

Students were told new laundry facilities would be available Oct. 30, but that deadline has been pushed back because of engineering problems, said Courtney Flaherty, associate director of GW Property Management.

“They said they would do something about the laundry. Right now there are just too many people for those machines,” resident senior Matt Blasi said.

Junior Dave Dillehay said with so many people living in the building, four washers and dryers “just don’t work.”

The University is building a new laundry room with nine washers and 10 dryers in the basement on the same level as the current room, Flaherty said.

She said the new completion date is Nov. 30, but it is subject to change if there are further delays.

Michael Peller, managing director for Business Services, said the laundry services are a legitimate concern but sometimes delays cannot be avoided.

“We had to deal with getting certification from the owners of the property, electrical and plumbing issues,” Peller said.

He said the equipment is on location, and workers are waiting for approval to install the machines.

Residents said the University also broke promises about their internet connection. They said they expected ethernet by the beginning of the month.

Until this week, residents used phone lines in their rooms to connect with dial-up service providers. They received notices Aug. 22 that ethernet connections would be installed by November.

But Flaherty said the internet connection was ready two weeks early.

“Students were promised they would get internet by Thanksgiving, and ResNet started connecting people on Monday,” she said.

Alexa Kim, director of Student and Academic Support Services Technology, said GW is on schedule delivering internet access to residents.

Kim said the technology uses existing wiring in the building but several upgrades had to be made to the wiring for this service to work.

The ethernet service transmits and separates through current phone lines and then passes into a box with jacks for several computer connections, Kim said.

Kim also said every City Hall resident is guaranteed individual phone and data connectivity. ResNet is having a connection fair to distribute necessary equipment in the hall lobby until the end of the week.

Associate Dean of Students at the Community Living and Learning Center Jan-Mitchell Sherrill said the laundry issue is a “shame,” but the University is trying to address the problem.

“I’m glad they (Property and Real Estate Management) are trying to get something done, and I’m also glad the internet is finally done,” Sherrill said.

GW leased City Hall at 950 24th St., formerly the luxury St. James Suites Hotel, in July to accommodate a larger student body and a large housing waiting list over the summer. The building houses mostly juniors in its double- and triple-occupancy rooms that have balconies and complimentary televisions.

Students offered other complaints that amount to inconveniences, but said they enjoy the luxurious surrounding of the former up-scale hotel.

“I like living here, but I had to bring a desk from home, which was kind of annoying,” junior Stacey Mitten said.

Even though the University reimbursed her, Mitten said the University should try to furnish the rooms for next year’s students.

Sophomore Cam Johnson, a transfer student, said he was up until 3 a.m. doing laundry Monday because there were so many people waiting to use machines.

“The accommodations are much nicer than what I’m used to, and we just got internet today, but I’d rather have laundry,” he said.

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