Students, officials celebrate Pelham Hall renovations

Students, staff members and neighbors came to the site of Pelham Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus on Friday for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the residence hall’s renovation – which is expected to bring a slew of amenities to the campus.

Several University officials spoke at the “Building Rising” event before the ceremonial concrete pouring. The residence hall will house 287 students beginning in fall 2010, at least 200 than before.

“Students from both campuses will be taking advantage of the new facilities offered here,” University President Steven Knapp told the crowd.

Among Pelham’s many expected amenities are a black box studio theater, a dance studio, a recording studio, a digital media studio, a fitness center and a dining facility.

The idea of furthering the GW community was a common theme for many of the speakers.

“[At Mount Vernon] students seem less stressed, people are friendlier, and I don’t know any other place on campus where you can get a cup of coffee from someone who knows your name,” said senior Scott Crawford, president of the Residence Hall Association’s executive board. He added that Pelham Hall “will allow GW to increase its ability to create this community feel.”

Cynthia Steele-Vance, a GW trustee and former resident of Pelham Hall when it was a part of Mount Vernon Seminary College, reminisced about her experiences living in the building.

“When I lived there it was just called the ‘new dorm,’ ” Steele-Vance said. “We had our own rooms and the balconies, which were a great place to stash coolers,” she added, to the amusement of the crowd.

Following the ceremony, attendees ate ice cream out of miniature construction hats.

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