Off the beaten path: the new Pelham

They traveled on the Vern Express, across a tennis court and through an underground parking garage to get to their destination. Then they were greeted with building sketches to examine and hard hats to don.

Their reward? Touring the University’s soon-to-be-newest residence hall – Pelham Hall.

Last week, administrators opened the residence hall, which had been under construction since last April and is set to be finished this summer, to students wishing to see the inner workings of the project.

The 287-person, multi-use facility offers amenities such as a black box theater, fitness and dance studios, and an in-house dining hall – all of which enticed tour-goers. But in the minds of some, the building’s location at the edge of the Mount Vernon campus still posed problems.

Sophomore Daniel Wolman, who has never lived on the Vern, said the key drawback of the new Pelham is its location, which remains unchanged from that of the building’s former self. He noted many positives about the building itself, but said that living at the edge of the Mount Vernon campus could be somewhat isolating.

“It’s pretty amazing and it definitely increases the popularity of the Vern,” Wolman said. “It’s all-in-one, which is nice, but I would have chosen to live on Foggy Bottom still… being two and a half blocks from the White House is one of the most appealing things about GW.”

Others agreed that the redesigned Pelham will likely make the Mount Vernon campus more alluring, but said the features of the new building might not be enough to attract students.

Freshman Brielle Seitelman, who lives on the Vern, said that the consideration of remaining there for a second year in a row outweighed the potential benefits of the new Pelham.

“I wouldn’t live in Pelham because I think two years on the Vern is a little much, but it seems really nice,” she said.

Many did not dispute the appeal of the new space. The design of the building, which also provides for two art galleries, 10 meeting rooms and student organization offices, in addition to the new dining and recreational spaces, has been met with largely positive feedback.

Another feature of the new residence hall is the lack of discrimination among class years. Freshmen, sophomores and upperclassmen are all eligible to live in the new Pelham – a factor Wolman said was potentially inviting.

In the end, despite the new entertainment and programming opportunities it offers, Pelham’s reportedly detached feeling caused multiple tourists to discount it as an option while filling out their housing applications.

“It seems very tempting with all of the amenities and it makes the Vern seem much more appealing,” freshman Mika Ramachandran said. “It was really nice and I really liked it, and if it wasn’t so far away I would live there.” u

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