A sign hanging off the balcony of an eighth-floor City Hall room reads, “No construction without compensation.”
Students in the residence hall have complained about construction on the building’s facade, with several residents calling the work intrusive and saying GW should have told them more about the renovation plans before the housing cancellation date last year. The University leases the building, and is renovating before it has to return the residence hall to its owner in 2016.
Since the work began a few weeks ago, dozens of students have reported loud drilling noises that have woken them up early in the morning and even construction workers entering their rooms unannounced.
Complaints have mounted as the noises reportedly became louder, Residence Hall Association President Ari Massefski said. He said he is working with GW departments to see if they can push the construction back to the summer.
“Our priority needs to be people living in the building, so they not only get their money’s worth but enjoy their time living in the building,” Massefski said.
Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia Knight said in an email that construction has been temporarily postponed from Tuesday to Thursday. She said GW is “working with the building’s owner to come to an agreement that will limit work on the building during the academic year.”
RHA hall council President Joong Lee said the council distributed a form to residents to formally submit their complaints last week. So far, they have received 24 responses, but Lee said the group is also receiving individual emails detailing additional complaints.
The Division of Operations has set up a table in the lobby for the rest of the week from 8 to 11 a.m. for students to directly speak to GW representatives about their concerns.
City Hall residents said they did not receive an email with details about the construction work until August. Students have five days to cancel their housing after they receive an assignment in May.
Several students reported that workers surprised them by entering their rooms to remove screens from the windows while they were sleeping or in the shower. Nichole Cubbage, the vice president of the City Hall council, said many female students have reported construction workers “catcalling and leering” at them while sharing elevators or walking outside the building where they work.
“It’s not just a little bit of construction. This is something that is going to be taking place for the rest of the year unless it is stopped,” Cubbage said.
Taylor Soja, who lives on the eighth floor, said she has not been able to open her curtains because construction workers are suspended outside her window. She tried to cancel her housing once the construction became “horrible,” saying she would’ve chosen somewhere else to live had she known the work would continue into the school year.
“They really just kinda brushed [my cancellation request] off, like no sorry, the deadline is passed. I just felt like they should’ve been doing everything to accommodate,” Soja said.
Resident Michael Simon said he was frustrated the University listed amenities like balconies on the housing website when they had to be closed off for construction. A City Hall double without a balcony costs $12,760, while rooms with a balcony cost $13,950.
“We’re paying $1,200 more for a balcony, and now it’s like, OK, we’re going to pay for this, but now we can’t use it,” Simon said.