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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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GW gives a look inside Potomac House, plans two other dorms

As construction of GW’s newest residence hall, the Potomac House on F Street, progresses smoothly, GW administrators are making plans for the erection of two other dorms over the next decade.

The construction of the Potomac House, a 379-bed freshman dorm, has been on schedule since its December 2004 groundbreaking, and the building is set to open this fall.

With the D.C. City Council’s unanimous approval of a GW deal this month with the School Without Walls, the University is in the process of getting permits approved before construction can begin on a new F Street dorm between 21st and 22nd streets.

GW has begun work with private and University architects to develop architectural plans for the building, which officials said will be smaller than the 729-bed Ivory Tower. Once blueprints for the building are complete, the University can obtain zoning permits from the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment. Executive Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz, whose office oversees University real estate and development, did not say when the permits would be received or when the project would be complete.

Katz said the plans for the dorm, which are still in the preliminary stages, will call for about 470 beds in an apartment-style living environment. The initial plans calls for four single bedrooms attached to a common room with two bathrooms and a washer and dryer for each room. The building is set to be completed by 2009, Katz said.

The University is also in the process of making plans for a new dorm to be built on the Mount Vernon Campus on the site of Pelham Hall. Katz said details of the style and type of rooms are still being discussed, and that no final timeline has been announced for the project.

With the Potomac House’s exterior close to completion, University contractors are focusing on interior work. Art Bean, University director of project management, said GW hopes to have the interiors completed by June and furnishings in place by July. The building will be ready for freshmen to move into this fall.

Highlights of the first floor of the building include a common room, a television lounge, the building’s laundry room, a bike storage room and a yet-to-be-determined food venue.

Potomac House rooms will be mostly doubles with bookshelves built into the walls and fiber network cords located above desk level for easy access, Bean said.

Four students per suite will share one bathroom that has a shower, toilet and vanity. The bathrooms will connect two bedrooms, similar to the design of several freshman dorms.

The building has two stairwells and three elevators to serve its 10 floors. The top floor will include a penthouse for the community director, a Community Living and Learning Center employee who will oversee the student housing staff in the building.

The building will house most of the freshmen that would have been living in the Hall on Virginia Avenue, which next year will be used for graduate student housing, Katz said.

Katz said the most challenging aspects of constructing a building is organizing its team.

“The hardest part of any project is organizing the team effort,” Katz said. “You have to worry about sequencing, what is going to happen when, making sure all the project managers are in place and all the people that need to be involved are.”

With the completion of Duqu?s Hall this January, Katz said the University is now focusing on the remodeling the interior of the Hall of Government building. Katz said the University has hired architects to finalize buildings plans but gave no official timeline for when construction will begin and be completed for the Hall of Government.

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