Construction of a new business school building will begin next month after a year of delays.
The $56 million-facility, Ric and Dawn Duques Hall, will be erected between Funger and Madison halls on 22nd Street and will feature high-tech classrooms, a 115-seat auditorium and a stock trading room.
The building will be connected to Funger’s third through sixth floors, which are being renovated to house the School of Business and Public Management’s faculty offices.
Construction is expected to start in November and finish by January 2006, said Bob Ludwig, interim director of Media Relations. The renovation of Funger will begin in fall 2004, with a completion date set for summer 2005.
While a groundbreaking ceremony for the building was held in October 2002, construction was impeded until last month, when a district court gave GW until 2006 to comply with a housing order that prevents construction of non-residential facilities.
Before the ruling, the building was mired in legal limbo as GW failed to comply with the order, which required the University to house 70 percent of its students on campus or outside Foggy Bottom by August 2002.
The 22nd Street parking lane and sidewalk between G and H streets next to Funger will be closed once construction begins, Ludwig said.
Funger classrooms that overlook the construction site on the second floor will be closed starting in fall 2004 because they will be subject to noise, said Craig Linebaugh, associate vice president for academic planning and development.
Classes scheduled for those rooms will be moved to the Mount Vernon Campus and 2020 K Street, a building where 18 classes already meet, he said.
“K Street provides us with a very good alternative to the classrooms that are going offline in Funger,” he said.
Classrooms on Funger’s third through sixth floors will continue to be used until renovation begins.
Funger’s first-floor classrooms will remain open throughout construction because they have no windows and should experience “minimal” noise, Linebaugh said.
“Our expectation … is that those rooms should continue to remain in service throughout construction,” he said.
Ludwig said students living in residence halls should not experience excessive noise from the construction.
“We try the best we can to keep the noise to a minimum,” he said. “It’s always a concern.”
The building, which will give the business school a new home, will not help the University cope with a future classroom crunch because the conversion of Funger classrooms into offices cancels out the additional space the new building will provide.
Linebaugh said GW could avoid a future crunch by utilizing its existing classrooms more effectively.
If the University switched from 75-minute classes that meet twice a week to 50-minute classes that meet three times a week, GW would be able to schedule almost 200 more classes, he said.
“The math is simple,” he said. “It would allow us to schedule many more classes if we did that.”
He said the new building’s conference and study rooms would foster an environment for students and faculty that is missing from the business school’s present location in the Hall of Government and Monroe Hall.
“It’s important to recognize that a great deal of learning occurs in places other than classrooms,” said Linebaugh, who described the business school’s existing space as “incredibly cramped.”
The new building will “give a world-class business school a world-class facility,” Ludwig said. “For the students, it’s obviously going to be a major advantage, and I think it will be something that the faculty and dean can point to with pride.”
This article appeared in the October 23, 2003 issue of the Hatchet.