Ames Hall renovation moves forward

A major project under the Mount Vernon Campus Plan is on schedule to be complete before the end of 2011, a University spokeswoman said this week.

Partial demolition of Ames Hall – the former center for student life on the Vern – was ongoing last semester, but last week a crane was brought to the site, and installation of a new foundation and piping is now underway.

“The renovated and expanded Ames Hall will contain a blend of up to 10 rooms for academic use, as well as informal student gathering space, faculty offices, and other academic and administrative support space,” University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said in an e-mail.

The size of Ames Hall is being increased by approximately 26,866 square feet of gross floor area to total 47,316 square feet.

Ames Hall used to house a dining area, mail services and open student space, but the newly built West Hall and its Pelham Commons area took over those roles beginning last fall.

The types of classes to be offered in the new academic space in Ames haven’t been determined.

“As with any classes scheduled at the Mount Vernon Campus, determination of what classes will be held in these spaces is based on faculty, department, registrar and University needs and preferences,” Sherrard said.

The building, like other recent University construction, is expected to achieve a minimum of Silver certification under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standards.

Sustainable features of the building will include a green roof and reflective roofing, Energy Star appliances, native and adaptive plants, and will be designed to increase water and energy efficiency.

Sherrard said residents of the Vern have been briefed on the development project, saying students have expressed support for using sustainable practices and the design of the building’s new exterior.

“I think the new building would be nice because rooms in the academic building are old and having new classrooms would really add something to the campus,” freshman resident Jennifer Shafer said.

However with construction moving forward, more noise may come with it. Some residents of Somers Hall, next door to the construction site, have noticed the noise.

“The construction has been a hassle to me. I can’t sleep. It wakes me up every day when they start at 7[am],” said Alex Wakim, a freshman living in Somers. She said trucks coming to and from the site are distracting as well.

Sherrard said the University is in compliance with D.C. law that allows construction work Monday through Saturday between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. She also said that to date, the project team for Ames Hall hasn’t received any complaints about construction.

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