The Mount Vernon Campus expanded its facilities this year with a revamped athletic center, renovated pool and an expanded lower floor of Ames Dining Hall to accommodate the 180-resident increase on the campus, officials said.
About 440 students live at Mount Vernon this year, compared to less than 300 last year, said Executive Dean of Mount Vernon Grae Baxter. She said the campus added 180 beds to Somers Hall last year, but only about 40 students lived there.
This year Somers Hall was filled to capacity, she said.
The number of classes also increased from 107 to 136 this year, however the percentage of Foggy Bottom students who take the classes has stayed the same, at about 72 percent.
Last year the campus completed Phase I of its ten-year campus plan, which included construction of new and improved tennis courts, underground parking for about 180 cars, the Somers addition, a new softball field and improvement of the current soccer field, Baxter told the Faculty Senate at its May 10 meeting
This year the campus continued renovations to help with increased traffic to campus facilities.
The campus upgraded its Athletic Center and outdoor pool, a $1.2 million project, said Operations Supervisor for Athletics and Recreation Michael Gill.
The single-floor Athletic Center now has an exercise bicycle, Stairmaster, treadmills, dumbbells and elliptical machines, Gill said. He said about a dozen people can fit in the center.
Some students said they like the new gym, because it is spacious and isn’t usually crowded because the campus also has another gym.
“Somers has its own gym so (students) who live in Somers don’t really use the (main) gym,” said sophomore Rachel Beck, who lived at Mount Vernon last year and works in the Community Living and Learning Center there this year. “I work (at Mount Vernon) so I use the gym every week.”
Beck also said the campus is “beautiful,” and the athletic facilities add to Mount Vernon’s environment.
But some students said although the athletic center is larger and has more equipment this year, crowding at peak times and lack of air conditioning are still problems.
Freshman Kelsey Mohr said she often skips working out in the gym because she can’t find a free machine, and there is no air conditioning.
But Beck said “although there’s no air conditioning there’s a large fan so you’re fine.”
The campus pool also received some renovations, including a new deck and a toddler pool, which was added because of “community interest,” Gill said.
While students can use the tennis and pool facilities for free, community members can join the pool and tennis facility for a $2,000 initiation fee plus $240 per month, Baxter told the Faculty Senate.
Gill said renovations were made in response to “student need,” and future athletic plans include building offices for coaches whose sports teams play at Mount Vernon, but a construction date has not yet been set.
Baxter said Foggy Bottom residents use the pool and come to Mount Vernon more now because of increased programming.
Some Foggy Bottom students said they enjoy traveling to Mount Vernon.
“You try to take classes that you know you’re going to have difficulty with at Mount Vernon because of the smaller classes,” freshman Bridget Realmuto said. “And it’s nice that everyone knows everyone.”
“I go there sometimes to study, because it’s nice and quiet,” sophomore Raymond Meaks said. “But otherwise, it’s the city for me; I love it. When I think of George Washington University, I think Foggy Bottom.”
“I like the Sunday brunch, and Mount Vernon has a lot of good activities,” freshman Janiere Pereira said. She said she attends brunch on whenever she has the chance.
-Michael Barnett contributed to this report.