ESIA building remains closed

While faculty members initially planned on moving into the new Elliott School of International Affairs building over winter break, the facility remains under construction as classes begin Monday. Students will attend classes in other buildings across campus until the facility is completed, and officials said an end date for construction has not yet been determined.

ESIA officials anticipate the facility will be ready by April; however, they are currently deciding whether the school will change classroom locations mid-semester once the building is ready for use.

“We’re anticipating moving soon, and then of course the added difficulty is, do we start our classes and move?” said Kathleen Reilly, ESIA director of public affairs. “It creates a lot of difficulty when the optimal time is once we get going into the semester.”

Until the facility is ready, ESIA offices and classes will be based in their current buildings, Lisner and Stuart halls. Students will also take classes in buildings such as the School of Media and Public Affairs’ Jack Morton Auditorium, the Gelman Library and Building XX.

Although the University planned to open the academic portion of the building at the end of the fall semester and start classes there in the spring, “regular” construction delays and waiting for a certificate of occupancy curbed GW’s plans, Reilly said.

The University held classes inMPA building for the spring 2001 semester, while the facility was still under construction, and ESIA officials said they will wait for their new building to be completed before opening the facility to classes.

The 1957 E St. complex also includes a 193-bed residence hall, which opened in August, a three-level, 200-space underground parking garage and more than 3,300 feet of retail space.

Eric Hougen, director for ESIA administrative and fiscal affairs, said the ESIA hired several new faculty members, “anticipating being in the new building,” and the school has had to “double up on some office space” until the new building opens.

“We’re just soldiering on,” Hougen said. “We’re just standing by, ready to go.”

The new facility’s 21 state-of-the-art classrooms will seat a total of 1,388 students. The building will also house the two largest classrooms on the Foggy Bottom campus, each seating about 300 students. The Jack Morton Auditorium and two Funger Hall lecture halls each seat about 250 students.

Seven “standard” classrooms will seat 65 students and contain projector screens, ceiling-mounted overhead projectors, televisions, VCRs, DVD players, instructor computers and voice and program amplification similar to those in MPA classrooms.

Three computer labs will be located on the lower level and five executive seminar rooms will be on the sixth floor.

Some ESIA students said they are looking forward to taking courses in the new facility and hope they move mid-semester.

“We don’t really have a college campus (at GW) … I’m definitely looking forward to the new building,” freshman Mirabelle Oczkowski said, adding that moving in the middle of the semester would be easy for her to do.

However, some students said changing locations would disrupt their schedules.

“With (living on) Mount Vernon, once you have your schedule (set), you have it worked out,” freshman Chrissy Caggiano said. “To walk over to E Street takes an extra five minutes.”

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