Lafayette to close next year for upgrade

Lafayette Hall will be closed for more than a year starting this May while the University completes major renovations to the residence hall, a University administrator said this week.

The planned upgrades will cost $10.5 million and will completely overhaul the interior of the building, which was built in 1926.

“The renovated facility will be new and modern throughout, to include a central heating and air conditioning system, new elevator and baths and living facilities,” Juan Ibanez, associate vice president for facilities, said in an e-mail. The building will also be fully handicap accessible, he said.

In addition, current renovation plans call for added fire safety measures, including enhanced alarms and sprinklers, new furniture and light fixtures, and a redesign of the building’s floor plan.

The renovated residence hall will also meet the United States Green Building Council’s guidelines for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Ibanez said, meaning the building would be officially considered an environmentally friendly building.

The building’s capacity – currently at 162 residents – will remain the same, Ibanez said.

He added that the configuration of rooms should also remain about the same, although the final design is not complete. Bowie Gridley, a Washington-based architectural firm, is in charge of the design.

Lafayette is one of the University’s oldest residence halls. In 2005, The Hatchet reported that several Lafayette residents had experienced severe problems in their rooms, including leaks and a broken heater.

Matt Trainum, the employment director for GW Housing Programs, said the University is not certain whether the residence hall will continue to house freshmen after the renovations are complete.

“Each year we evaluate the number of beds needed for each different class year and configure bed space to best meet those needs,” Trainum said in an e-mail. “No final determinations will be made until we are closer to bringing the building back on line and seeing where the demand is.”

Trainum said he did not know where the University will house freshmen who would have lived in Lafayette next year, but noted that additional space will be opening on the Mount Vernon campus.

“Specific freshmen housing locations have not been determined yet and are typically not finalized until later in the fall,” Trainum said.

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