GW presses beyond campus boundaries

The look, feel and scope of GW’s campus might seem foreign to a returning alumni as the University continues to add more students and buildings. The trend is particularly noticeable this year.
A lot of the changes center on growing enrollment, including a record freshman class this year that stretched GW’s housing and forced the University to add residence halls, classes and faculty to accommodate more than 2,500 new students.
GW increased its housing inventory with nearly 800 new beds, mostly by leasing an apartment building and a former hotel last summer beyond the traditional campus boundaries.
The increase in on-campus rooms came in response to upperclassmen on housing waiting lists over the summer and about 300 unanticipated freshmen. Universities gauge the number of expected students by predicting the admissions yield rate, or percentage of accepted students who will decide to enroll. GW expected a yield similar to previous years, about 29 percent, but 36 percent of admitted students accepted offers.
GW entered a 15-year lease to occupy all rooms in the St. James Suites, at 950 24th St.. The building, which GW dubbed “City Hall” in its residence hall system, offers more than 500 beds in about 200 rooms. The University also leased 80 rooms in a three-year agreement with the Pennsylvania House, at 2424 Pennsylvania Ave., in June to ease the housing crunch.
“We were obviously looking to expand our housing options and this was the best way to do that,” said Bob Ludwig, assistant director for media relations.
Changes in living at GW won’t stop there – the University applied for permits in August for two new properties. One is a new residence hall that will house 700 students and the other is a row of townhouses for 200 students. New buildings on and around campus are not confined to residence halls. The Health and Wellness Center, at 23rd and G streets, opened in August. The 183,000-square foot facility includes four basketball courts, a jogging track, a pool, racquetball and squash courts and fitness areas. The University hopes to open the center to alumni and the community eventually.
Classroom buildings are also springing up across campus. The first was the School of Media and Public Affairs that opened in January. The under-construction Elliott School of International Affairs site, at 1957 E St., is scheduled for completion by next school year. It will include upperclassman living along with office and classroom space.
GW also plans to build a new School of Business and Public Management between Madison and Funger halls on 22nd Street by 2004.
On the academic side, the University spent more than $1 million to add more faculty members to cover more sections of introductory classes for freshmen.
GW added more than 50 lecture classes in addition to more discussions and labs, said Craig Linebaugh, associate vice president for academic planning and special projects. The Columbian College alone has eight new full-time faculty members, and 16 additional part-time faculty, teaching assistants and undergraduate professional advisers.

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