Ivory Towers nears completion

Construction for the Ivory Towers residence hall, which will feature apartment-style rooms and dining venues, is running on schedule and will be completed in August.

The building, located at the corner of 23rd and G streets, will house 729 students in doubles and quads modeled after New Hall.

Each room will have a living area, kitchen and bathroom, said Andrew Sonn, director of Housing Services.

Rising juniors and seniors, along with sophomores who are rooming with at least one upperclassman, are eligible to live in the hall.

With housing selection scheduled to occur next month, some students said they are excited about the new residence hall, a 14-story structure that will be the tallest building on campus.

“It’s going to be just as good as New Hall, with a good location, not as far away as City Hall,” junior Aaron Waldo said. “But I want to look at a model first.”

Sonn said students can view models as the building nears completion. The price of the rooms will be made available before housing selection begins Feb. 27.

“I know that we will certainly have architectural renderings and floor plans available for students to look at in advance of (housing) selection,” Sonn said.

Planning for the building began at least four years ago, said Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services. He said officials conducted focus groups and interviews, which led them to model the hall after New Hall and 1957 E Street.

“In New Hall one issue was whether or not to put washers and dryers in the apartments,” Chernak said. “In 1957 E Street they are in the apartments and also will be in Ivory Towers.”

The building will also feature several dining venues and an underground parking garage.

“There will be some type of grocery store for people to purchase food and essentials for apartments, as well as a food court area,” Chernak said.

Junior Ryan Geist, director of the Student Association Dining Services Commission, said officials are considering having independent venues in the food court rather than Aramark-operated shops like those in the Marvin Center.

“We have been pushing as to what venues we want to see, but it has not advanced to solidifying anything yet,” Geist said. “We would like to see a Chipotle-style venue, or some kind of sit-down urban cafe with music playing and with more food options than Starbucks.”

Students said the building’s location and its amenities are large draws for living there.

“It has a great location. I see the construction and pass it all the time,” sophomore Ivy Kublin said.

“It’s close to everything and it’s probably going to be nice,” sophomore Lindsay Hamlin said.

Sonn said he is confident that interest in other residence halls will not wane and that this year’s new housing options, including coed Scholars Village townhouses and some students’ ability to keep their current rooms, will generate more interest in existing facilities.

“Many great campus housing options will be offered at housing selection this year … We’re very excited about the housing initiatives that will be offered this spring for next academic year,” he said.

The Ivory Towers will also help GW come into compliance with a city order requiring GW to house most of its students on campus by fall 2006.

“Just simply by the number of beds, these numbers will improve the percentage of on-campus residents,” Chernak said.

The University is also facing a lawsuit by an owner of three townhouses adjacent to the Ivory Towers. Donald Kreuzer claims that the building is being built partially on his property and that his townhouses have been damaged by the construction.

Associate General Counsel Linda Schutjer, who is handling the case for GW, said the lawsuit will not impede completion of the Ivory Towers. A District judge has already thrown out several of the lawsuit’s seven charges.

The judge is considering GW’s request to throw out the entire lawsuit. Schutjer said she expects a decision by the end of January.

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