ANC, GW agree to off-campus housing terms during Thurston renovations

Media Credit: Alexander Welling | Assistant Photo Editor

Vice Chair Patrick Kennedy speaks during a Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting Wednesday.

A local governing body met Wednesday night to vote on a plan that will permit the University to house students off campus while Thurston Hall is renovated.

The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission voted on a community agreement to set guidelines for the University to house students outside of boundaries originally agreed to in the 2007 Foggy Bottom Campus Plan. Officials said they will prevent student noise levels and behavior from disrupting residents while students live off campus.

Approving the agreement
Commissioners approved an agreement with the University to accommodate students displaced by the reconstruction of Thurston Hall, set to begin in the fall of 2020. Community members met last week to hear residents’ concerns about the University’s plants to temporarily convert One Washington Circle into a residence hall and house more students in off-campus residence halls, like The Aston.

The University agreed to put no more than 220 third and fourth-year students at the The Aston and no more than 330 third and fourth-year students at One Washington Circle Hotel.

Alicia Knight, the senior associate vice president for operations, said the University has agreed to pay $1 million per semester that the University houses students off campus outside of the time parameters designated by the commission’s agreement.

“We believe that we have gotten to a place where we have been responsive to the concerns that the community and the ANC have raised,” Knight said.

Recognizing a former commissioner
Commissioners thanked former ANC Commissioner Phil Schrefer, who resigned from his position at the July meeting, for his time on the ANC.

ANC Commissioner Trupti Patel said she was grateful for Schrefer’s guidance when she was first elected to the ANC in November.

“It was very sad to lose my buddy up here, but I just want to say thank you very much, it was a pleasure to work with you,” Patel said.

Vice Chair Patrick Kennedy, who chaired the meeting in Chair William Kennedy Smith’s absence, said he appreciated Schrefer’s work to push the District Department of Transportation to install a lighted crossing signal on Virginia Avenue to help pedestrians cross the intersection.

“Phil was very dogged on that and I think, as anyone who has served on the ANC knows, sometimes persistence is what pays off,” Kennedy said.

Seeking approval for liver transplant service
Sherri Newman, the GW Hospital’s director of transplant and cardiac operations, and Nicole Dollison, the hospital’s chief operating officer, presented an application for a certificate of need to become a liver transplant center. The waiver is needed before the hospital can offer new services.

“Most of the major transplant centers have two or more liver transplant centers,” Newman said. “We just have one here in D.C., so GW plans to be the second liver transplant center.”

She said the hospital will plan engagement activities to raise awareness about the need for liver transplants in the area.

“We’ll be going into the community and educating about liver transplants, early signs of liver disease, how to prevent liver disease,” Newman said.

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