Construction to shutter Building K

The director of the Exercise and Sport Activity Program fears the program’s course offerings will be cut in half next year, as the program’s main building will be demolished to make way for the Science and Engineering Complex.

Alex Dickman, director of the program, said about 1,300 students take classes in Building K – the gym located on 23rd Street behind the JBKO residence hall – which will be knocked down after the 2010-2011 academic year.

“I think it’s sad,” Dickman said. “When the building is gone, we may lose about half of our classes.”

Dickman said “the University is looking for space” for the program’s relocation.

University spokeswoman Jill Sankey said the University is working with School of Public Health and Health Services to try and relocate classes.

“We are currently in the process of working with SPHHS and parking services to ensure an efficient transition of all existing functions from [University Parking Garage] and Building K to interim sites,” Sankey said.

Dickman said the building is used continuously from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. She said she doesn’t know where the University can accommodate the displaced classes.

The director also said she is concerned about the health of students if her department can no longer offer the wide range of classes that it now does.

“If you don’t start picking up activities at this time, chances are you’re not going to do it,” she said.

Dickman said she is doing her best to adjust for the 2011-2012 academic year, and she hopes there will be enough space in the Lerner Health and Wellness Center, or that groups will be able to use the auxiliary gyms in the Smith Center.

Brian Wright teaches a Japanese swordsmanship and taekwondo class, and advises the kendo, iaido and taekwondo clubs – all of which have used Building K since 1992. Wright said he has looked at space available at the Mount Vernon Campus, but the space will be able to fit no more than 10 people, insufficient space for his classes and clubs.

Some clubs, like karate club, are now looking at off-campus space to practice, Wright said.

“I don’t want to have to leave campus,” Wright said, adding that he is unsure if the clubs will be able to handle the burden of paying rent at off-campus locations.

Stephanie Caluag, president of the GW Taekwondo club, said her club has yet to hear from the University regarding the situation. She said she is optimistic about finding space at HelWell or the Mount Vernon Campus, and if not, she has another location in mind.

“If we have to, we’ll practice in the streets,” she said jokingly.

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