University officials and developers of a Courtyard by Marriott Hotel agreed to start construction later in the morning, after the University received a barrage of student complaints about construction noise.
Construction began at the end of October, and crews would arrive and begin working at 7 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays. University officials reached an agreement with the hotel’s contractors to start construction one hour later, at 8 a.m. beginning Nov. 12. During finals period – which runs from Dec. 11 to Dec. 22 – construction will begin at 9 a.m.
University officials notified residents living in Mitchell Hall and the 1959 E Street residence hall of the construction hour change.
“Any time we can communicate better with an off-campus entity and ultimately partner to guarantee some additional support which enhances the quality of the student experience, we are pleased,” Dean of Students Peter Konwerski said.
Since work began at the end of October to tear down an existing parking deck at the site, students have complained about the loud noise affecting their sleep and study routines. University officials met with students Nov. 5 to address their concerns. Students asked for their housing costs to be refunded, but Konwerski said the University has no plans to refund housing fees.
“We are, on a case-to-case basis, offering – on a space available basis – some temporary room swap options,” Konwerski said. “We did this based on some ongoing analysis we conducted over the past two weeks which examined the impact of the construction noise based.”
While the site is surrounded by GW buildings, the University is not developing the project – the hotel is being developed by Allstate Hotel LLC.
“We all decided it would make sense to start a little later,” Mike Tyler of MJ Tyler and Associates LLC, a spokesman for the hotel developer, said.
An e-mail sent to students by Konwerski and other officials warned students that normal construction hours – which run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays – will be back in place when students return to campus in January after winter break.
Tyler said when students come back for classes in January, demolition of the parking garage where the hotel is being built will begin, starting at 8 a.m. on weekdays.
Demolition will take another 12 to 14 weeks, Tyler said, and will be completed around late January or early February.
After that, work will resume at 7 a.m., but Tyler said the next phase of work entails less noise.
Though Tyler said daylight savings time would add costs – with the need to buy lighting for the site – so construction will not go past 7 p.m. to make up for the lost morning hours.
“[Less work hours] slows us down a little bit,” Tyler said, noting that about a day of work is lost every week or so when the hours are added up.
He explained that the University had requested that the construction company help mitigate student concerns about the construction, and that it worked to do the best it could while still building the hotel.
“We want to be a good neighbor,” Tyler said.
Work hours will only change in special pre-approved or emergency situations, according to the University’s e-mail.
To guard against the construction noise, students are also being provided with earplugs by Marriott and HITT Contracting. The University has said it will help distribute earplugs to students who want them.
The hotel, which is set to have more than 150 guest suites, is expected to be completed in April 2012.