Thousands of square feet remain vacant

More than a year after administrators planned to relocate several campus offices, the spaces left behind remain vacant at a time when campus leaders are amplifying calls for more student space.

The University began talks last fall to relocate a handful of student life offices into the Marvin Center – a project completed this summer. Those spaces have yet to be filled.

About 20,000 square feet remain vacant in the 814 20th St. building that previously housed the Office of Study Abroad. Most of the first floor in Old Main, where the GW Career Center once stood at 20th and F streets, is also empty.

Student Association president Ashwin Narla said some of the buildings, particularly Old Main, should open for student use. The three-story, red brick building is about 80,000 square feet and also houses the geography department.

“There’s a lot of office space going up. We’re not seeing a lot of study space for students,” Narla said. He added that the organization is intensifying its lobbying efforts for more on-campus student areas this fall.

The Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research, formerly at 714 21st St., and the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, which was located at 2129 G St., also vacated their townhouses to move into the Marvin Center this summer.

During the months of discussions about the shift of offices into the Marvin Center’s fifth floor student services hub, called Colonial Crossroads, administrators would not respond to requests about which offices would move into the vacated spaces.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said it was not unusual for the University to coordinate a project without concurrently planning for the backfill. She said the process requires departments and offices to move out before officials can assess the available space.

The four recently vacated areas were all mentioned in the Student Association’s 22-page student space proposal, delivered to the University’s provost and treasurer this month.

Sherrard said administrators were reviewing the proposal and “look forward to continuing to work this fall with the SA on these ideas.” She declined to comment on any University plans that may be in the works for the vacant floors or buildings.

Center for Student Engagement director Tim Miller said the International Services Office, at 2033 K St., could soon move into Old Main. The office’s director, Greg Leonard, said in May that he hoped to move closer to Foggy Bottom, where most of GW’s 2,100 international students spend their time.

Foggy Bottom is also experiencing an academic space crunch, with 13 classrooms around campus, in Corcoran, Monroe and Smith halls as well as 1957 E Street, shifting to faculty lab space. Student and University leaders have hinted in the past that classrooms could move into Old Main.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.