What’s the deal with… the wires hanging from the West End?

The Princeton Review may say GW students live like kings (look at their annual “Dorms Like Palaces” rankings). But take a look at the exterior of the West End – one of GW’s older residence halls – and you might wonder what kind of royalty lives inside.

Outside of the West End, wires dangle down the side of the building, making it look less like a palace and more like a project.

Nancy Haaga, director of Campus Support Services, said the wires are the cables for the West End’s television, and they’ve probably been there for at least the past 30 years when the building first got cable. GW didn’t acquire the property until 1998 and left the wires alone.

Haaga said there is not much the University can do to hide the wires or move them inside the building to make it look more attractive because it’s such an old property.

“There is no infrastructure to support central cabling available at the interior of the building so the cables that bring this service to the building are presently located at the exterior of the building structure,” Haaga wrote in an e-mail.

The West End, at 21st and I streets, offers 210 beds to students in singles, double, triple and quad apartments and each room includes an individual bathroom and a kitchen. Students living in the building pay $3,800 a semester, the least amount per student for a GW dorm. Maybe it’s because of the unsightly wires.

Haaga agreed the wires are not attractive, but said replacing them would not be worth the price.

“The possibility of replacing the exterior cabling with interior wiring has been considered,” she said. “The cost to accomplish this, however, is significant.”

Even though these wires have been a part of the West End for the last 30 years, they might not be there in another 20. The West End has been flagged as a redevelopment site under the proposed Foggy Bottom Campus Plan that maps out University development over the next 20 years.

Haaga said, “.any infrastructure improvements to the building would be made as a part of that redevelopment.”

-Katie Rooney

“What’s the deal with…” is a weekly feature in the Life section. If you have a suggestion for the column, e-mail features@gwhatchet.com.

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