GW pledges to keep down Gelman noise

The University is pledging to minimize the disruptions to students as crews continue to gut Gelman Library’s lower floors this fall.

Administrators and library officials said they will strategically schedule quieter construction work during peak use hours to avoid interrupting studies.

“Work during library operating hours should not impede library functions or student access in and out of the library’s main entrance on H Street,” University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said.

Gelman student liasion Aria Varasteh said the construction team worked from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. this summer clearing second floor offices to make way for a new ground-level entrance through Kogan Plaza. But those hours will change at the beginning of the academic year.

Noisy work will mainly occur between 3 and 7 a.m. once classes begin, Varasteh said, but he was unable to provide a construction schedule. He said students could “hear at most a thump” during day and nighttime hours.

During midterms and finals, construction will halt or cut down, he said.

“They know when there aren’t many students in the library, and those are the target hours for construction,” said Varasteh, a 2012 graduate. “The construction schedule will constantly be relayed to students.”

The crew will update the GW community on its construction schedule every few weeks so students can plan their studying schedules ahead of time.

“When we do know more, we’ll be sure to post it on different media for students’ benefit,” Varasteh said.

Construction will not affect the library’s services on the upper floors, Varasteh said. He added that none of the new staff areas, located on the first, third and sixth floors, would take up student study space. Staff office space shrunk by two-thirds since renovations began, he said, freeing up more room for students.

Sherrard said that infrastructure work in the library may cause “temporary closure of limited areas,” but did not specify which parts of the library could close.

Work on the building’s exterior will begin once the city approves building permits, Sherrard said, a process required by D.C. law for every phase of major construction projects.

Sherrard declined to comment on when the University expected to receive the permits.

Donohoe Construction Company is on track to wrap up work before the anticipated summer 2014 completion date, Sherrard said.

GW paid the company, a frequent contractor, more than $13 million as of June 30, 2011, according to financial forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

Renovations are geared toward mitigating the criticism the aging library has faced, including what University President Steven Knapp has called a “cave-like” entrance.

GW announced in January that it had hired an architect to design the long-awaited upgrades, including laptop bars, more study space and additional multi-purpose rooms.

The project is Gelman’s largest upgrade to date.

Gelman staff will host “Librarypalooza!” in Kogan Plaza Aug. 28 to keep students up-to-date on the project.

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