Construction to begin for GW Museum

Workers will begin demolitions on two buildings near University Yard as construction picks up the pace for the $22 million GW Museum.

Crews will tear down a protruding stairwell on the south side of Corcoran Hall and gut the Woodhull House, formerly the campus police headquarters, at 21st and G Streets. A groundbreaking ceremony will take place Oct. 18 in University Yard.

Once demolitions are complete, University spokeswoman Angela Olson said, the construction team will begin digging to make way for the actual museum structure. The museum is estimated to open in 2014.

Two academic buildings and the GW Law School are within a block of the construction, along with more than 100 rooms in Strong Hall. Construction moved one lab from the basement to the second floor of Corcoran Hall, which predominantly houses science courses. An astrophysics lab moved from the second floor to Monroe Hall.

“The university will coordinate closely with key faculty and staff to minimize impacts on learning and lab spaces,” she said, if construction impedes additional classes or residence halls.

City laws allow construction to take place Monday through Saturday on public spaces between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but Olson said the University’s goal was for “exceptionally noisy activities” to start after 8 a.m. on weekdays and after 9 a.m. on Saturdays, echoing GW’s campus-wide construction schedule.

Noisy activities include demolition of concrete, surface digging and jack hammering. Other disruptive actions, like as repetitive honking and “boisterous” conversations that could impact residents of Strong Hall – the museum’s closest residential neighbor – are also considered noisy activities, she added.

The University has worked with the construction team to keep the disruptive impact on academic settings as minimal as possible, she said, adding that GW will conduct “targeted student outreach” for Strong Hall to keep lines of communication open about any disturbances.

Electrical wiring will also be set into place on site of the museum connecting to the northeast corner of the block at 20th and H Streets, she said.

Earlier this month, the University Police Department vacated the Woodhull House – the department’s home of 35 years – to make way for the museum. UPD now works out of the Academic Center at 22nd and H streets and construction on Woodhull will begin next month.

The project, approved by the D.C. Zoning Commission in May, will feature District artifacts and house the Textile Museum.

Construction is taking place at five other locations across Foggy Bottom.

This article was updated Aug. 30, 2012 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet received information on the date of the groundbreaking after publication.

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