It has been nearly a year since the Board of Trustees, University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and donors Ric and Dawn Duques met in the parking lot adjacent to Funger Hall for a “ceremonial” ground breaking for the new business school – but the ceremony was premature.
The administration soon realized after the ground-breaking in October 2002 that construction on the business school would be held off indefinitely due to a city order mandating GW focus on housing concerns. However, a recent ruling in District court that delayed the order’s implementation until 2006 has convinced the administration that it can finally proceed with building the business school.
With the money in place and the space reserved, it would seem that all that is needed is the consent of the Board of Trustees to finally realize a much-needed improvement to facilities on campus, but it will also take the understanding of the Board of Zoning Adjustment. The BZA still has the ability to force the University to stop construction.
Under part of the Disrtict court’s ruling, the BZA is supposed to schedule a hearing to decide the future of the condition that requires freshmen and sophomores to live within campus boundaries. If the BZA were to enact this condition, GW would be in breach and would have to come into compliance, by moving freshman out of the Hall on Virignia Avenue and upperclassmen in, before building any non-residential buildings, even if the University were in the middle of construction of the business school.
It is a risky decision for the University to continue with construction considering there is even a small chance it might have to stop once started. But the University is doing the right thing. Additional high-tech classrooms will enable better learning opportunities – GW’s number one concern. A new business school should not be postponed any longer. It is worth the risk as GW cannot live in fear of future BZA decisions.