Demolition irks residents

Students who live in residence halls near the future Science and Engineering Hall are now hearing another noise besides their alarms every morning – demolition.

The University sent a letter in August to residents in Munson, JBKO, Fulbright and Madison halls to alert them that construction for the project began this summer and will continue throughout the year. The construction includes demolition of the University Parking Garage, and begins at 7 a.m. on weekdays.

“While we apologize in advance for these disturbances and are working with our contractors to minimize (to the extent possible) the impact to neighboring buildings, we also realize that creating a world-class research facility…will require all of us to be patient during the upcoming phases of campus development,” the letter said.

The letter said residents will face “noise and other inconveniences,” particularly during the demolition phases.

JBKO resident Dorothy Diaz-Hennessey said she is used to construction after living in Thurston Hall last year, where she dealt with construction on the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, but that the noise from her new residence hall is worse.

“It wakes me up more here than it did at Thurston,” Diaz-Hennessey said.

Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia O’Neil Knight said contractors are also working to limit the impact of construction dust and pollution on residents, but “will not be able to completely contain dust resulting from the demolition and excavation activities.”

All demolition and construction will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays – the time frame city law permits. For louder activities, like jack hammering, contractors are aiming to begin after 8 a.m. on weekdays and after 9 a.m. on Saturdays.

“I knew they were tearing down the parking garage, but I thought it was happening over the summer and would be done by the time we got here,” Kathleen Gilliland, another JBKO resident, said.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said in May the demolition would last from June to September.

Campaign GW, an organization that lobbies students and community members on behalf of the University’s development efforts, will table in the affected residence halls to answer questions about what students may expect from the construction.

Sophomore Rufus Smalls said though the demolition creates noise, and at times sends vibrations through the building, the construction “is mostly just an eye sore.”

“This is a nice room in a great location, so I think you have to just take the good with the bad,” he said.

The $275 million Science and Engineering Hall – the most expensive in University history – is touted as one that will make GW a top-tier research institution. It is slated for completion in 2014 and expected to open in 2015.

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