A student service center will occupy the vacant ground-floor space in the Marvin Center next year, officials told student leaders last week.
Administrators met with student leaders Thursday to discuss how several departments located across Foggy Bottom will be moved to the 5,000-square-foot location in the Marvin Center, which has been vacant for nearly one year. Parts of offices including the cashier’s, student accounts and student financial assistance offices will move to the Marvin Center service area, according to information distributed to student leaders and obtained by The Hatchet.
Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, said the changes will allow students to get the help they need with many services.
“Students can find it easier, less time-consuming and less frustrating to do administratively what they need to do, so that they will have more time to do what they want to do at GW,” he wrote in an e-mail Friday.
Construction on the project will begin this week and a “soft” opening of the center is scheduled for next fall, according to the document, which may be a draft of the University’s plan. Full integration of the service center is set to be completed by 2008.
A major part of the project will be moving the customer service aspect of offices to this central location in an effort to eliminate the “ping pong” experience associated with separate office locations, the document says.
A simultaneous aspect of the project is relocating employees not directly interacting with students to GW’s Loudoun County, Va., campus and “allowing space in the Marvin Center to be re-programmed to the highest and best use,” according to the document.
The 5,000 square-foot area in the basement has been vacant since last summer when the University relocated and downsized the District Market grocery store. In the fall, administrators met with student leaders to discuss possible uses of the space, which focused mainly on student organization use.
In February, The Hatchet reported that the University had put aside all other proposals in order to focus on installing a student service center.
Student Association President-elect Nicole Capp, who was at Thursday’s meeting, said she is reserving judgment on the plans until more details have been released.
“They said they’re bringing a few different services that are spread out on campus to one central location,” said Capp, a sophomore. “I haven’t had enough time to fully acquaint myself with the details, but the idea of bringing various services together to one place sounds promising.”
Junior Jay Kaplan, the incoming executive chair of Program Board, said he is not sure if a student services center is the best use of the area.
“The idea sounds great of integrating several offices into one location on the ground floor of the Marvin Center. We just have some doubts of if that is the best use of the Marvin Center space,” he said.
Officials said the plan would allow the University to better serve students.
“Basically, this project is all about improving services for the students,” said Matt Lindsay, assistant director of Media Relations. “It’s making procedures and their dealings with University departments easier and more efficient.”
SA Executive Vice President Josh Lasky, a senior who was a part of many discussions with the University on how to use the space, said that any plan that increases student space is positive. “So long as in that domino effect of spaces moving that some student space is created along the way, I will be satisfied,” he said.
University officials plan to meet with students Monday to discuss more details of the plan.
University draft of Service Center plan
-David Ceasar contributed to this report.
This article appeared in the April 9, 2007 issue of the Hatchet.