Geography Dept. prepares for move

Geography department officials said they are excited to leave their current home in the Quigley’s Pharmacy building for double the space in the 1957 E St. facility when it opens later this semester.

Though plans for Quigley’s remain up in the air, officials said the building will not be used for academic purposes, said Craig Linebaugh, assistant vice president for academic affairs.

Linebaugh said there was some discussion about moving the Speech and Hearing department offices to the upper floor of Quigley’s earlier this year. But administrators decided against the plans, indicating that Quigley’s may be used for a non-academic or commercial space.

GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said in 2001 that he would like to put an “eating establishment” in the space. Quigley’s operated as a soda shop through the 1970s.

Geography classrooms, offices, laboratories and a conference room will occupy suite 512 of 1957 E St. The Center for Urban Environmental Research, one of about 20 research institutes chartered by the University, will also share the fifth floor. Elliott School of International Affairs departments and offices will occupy the rest of the academic portion of the building.

With the “largest class in the history of the geography department,” the space in Quigley’s is “pretty crowded,” said Dorn McGrath, chair of the geography department.

McGrath said the department has been looking for a new home for about three or four years because of increasing enrollment numbers. There are currently 642 students taking geography courses.

The new 5,000-square foot facility will include high-tech classrooms, an updated laboratory and a new conference room. The department currently has about 2,900 square feet of space in Quigley’s, plus another 1,000 square feet in Funger Hall.

The geography department will be the only department of the Columbian College to be housed in the new building.

“We will be more self-contained” after the move, McGrath said. “Now we have to carry materials from one classroom to another,” he said.

The department currently uses Monroe Hall and other classrooms on G Street.

The furniture at Quigley’s is antiquated and will probably not be moving, McGrath said. The department raised $15,000, mostly from alumni, for new furniture in the event the University doesn’t provide sufficient furniture.

The GW weather station, which is currently on top of Quigley’s and run by the geography department, will be assembled on top of Mitchell Hall. A monitor displaying the current weather will be installed in the lobby of 1957 E St.

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