Park behind Guthridge Hall set to open this spring

Construction on a pathway and park near Guthridge Hall has been delayed by permit issues, but completion of the green space is expected later this semester.

What was once a parking lot behind the residence hall will soon have environmentally sustainable features like local vegetation and storm water collection. The development was originally scheduled to open early in the fall semester, but then the opening was pushed back to December and into 2010.

“[T]here were unexpected delays with permitting due largely to the fact that, given the size of the park, it includes portions of a number of lots and therefore a significant number of permits were needed,” said John Ralls, senior adviser for communications and outreach in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer, in an e-mail.

Ralls also said the project’s sustainable storm water management features caused additional review and discussion with District agencies.

“Given these complexities, extra time was needed for the D.C. government to issue necessary permits,” Ralls said.

According to the 2007 Foggy Bottom Campus Plan, the project located on Square 80 is meant to improve the area between F and G streets, which was essentially an alleyway before.

The passageway will provide access to both South Hall and Guthridge Hall, and is designed to retain and reuse storm water.

Trees and plants native to the D.C. region will be planted in the open area of the three-quarters-of-an-acre plot. The project was referred to as a “mid-block green plaza” in a January update on construction.

The area is meant not only for GW students, but also for the community at large. For now, however, it is GW students who are being affected by the prolonged construction.

“Our windows face the construction, and they start at seven in the morning and work until six at night. It’s really loud. It wakes us up and we can’t work in the room,” said Alison Porter, a sophomore living in Guthridge.

Tiana Myers, another sophomore living in Guthridge, also has been woken up by the construction taking place behind her residence hall. She says she’s looking forward to seeing the new open space when it is finished, however.

“I wish they could have done it in the summertime when we weren’t here, but at least they’re actually making use of the space back there,” Myers said.

South Hall is still accessible from G Street, but later this month the path will be narrowed.

Construction of access ramps and a patio behind the townhouses located on G Street are being worked on now. In February, phase two of five will involve the installation of cisterns, a pump well and storm piping.

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