GW spends millions to renovate aging halls

Correction appended

GW will spend several million dollars to gut and replace kitchens in Fulbright Hall this summer, part of a five-year plan to renovate outdated residence halls.

About 75 kitchens in Fulbright will receive fresh countertops and cabinetry as part of the renovation process, with some rooms also receiving new appliances. Rooms in the 66-year-old building were last upgraded in 2009 with a paint job.

“A lot of times we look at where you can get the most bang for your buck. Fulbright has 225 residents, and in terms of looking at places with outdated facilities like kitchens, it’s one of the bigger buildings and makes the most sense to renovate,” Director of GW Housing Programs Seth Weinshel said.

Next on the list to renovate are International House, JBKO, Francis Scott Key and Guthridge halls.

University spokeswoman Taylor Tibbetts could not pinpoint the exact cost of the renovations, but said the cost is less than last year’s $2.5 million upgrade in Munson Hall. GW set aside $4 million for residence hall renovations last year.

The Board of Trustees will officially price the project in the capital budget in May.

Several Fulbright residents say the upgrades are overdue, citing drainage problems and recurring cockroach problems.

Sophomore Emilia Totzeva said she doesn’t feel her room is worth the $9,250 rate, and said she has found cockroaches in cabinets several times this year. She also said some of her appliances do not work properly.

“It’ll be great to see the next batch of residents with newer cabinets and microwaves,” she said. “As of now, the sinks are dirty, and the drains used to clog basically every single day. When we open our refrigerator, our freezer opens, and when we open our freezer, our refrigerator opens.”

Another resident, sophomore Diana Clokey, said her oven does not work well, baking only in some places instead of all around the pan, and said the sinks’ drains “easily clog.”

The halls up next for renovations are the oldest on campus. Over the past 16 years, the University has built five residence halls, including Philip Amsterdam, Potomac and South halls, 1959 E Street and Ivory Tower.

And when the University begins construction on the $130 million “superdorm,” this summer, three more halls built in the middle of the 20th century will be completely revamped.

Few halls have seen building-wide upgrades in recent years, like the water, heating and air conditioning upgrades in Francis Scott Key Hall in 2009. Lounges in Building JJ, Strong Hall and The West End were also renovated that year.

The University spent more than $3 million on upgrades to Guthridge, Mitchell, City and The Aston halls in 2012.

This article was updated Feb. 19, 2013 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the renovations would cost an amount similar to the $2.5 million spent on Munson Hall in 2012. The renovations will cost less than that amount. We regret this error.

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