|2007 Foggy Bottom Campus Plan Development Sites. Image: GWU|
The residence hall adds to the university's growing list of high-dollar, ambitious construction projects, all part of a university plan to add density and retail to the parts of Foggy Bottom and West End neighborhoods the university controls, via the 2007 Foggy Bottom Campus Plan. The Campus Plan includes 16 projects.
In summer 2011, the university started construction on a $265 million dollar, 400,000 s.f. Science and Engineering Building. Also last year, the university announced plans to demolish townhouses on Pennsylvania Avenue and part of a large building at 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue, now occupied by Kaiser Permanente, to make room for a new office building. The university will argue before the DC Zoning Commission in November that it should be granted an exception to a 90-foot height limit on part of the site and be able to build the office tower to its planned 130-foot height.
According to a GW press release, the planned residence hall will house mainly second and third-year students and have accommodations for short-term staff and faculty. Units will be two-bedroom apartments, studio apartments, or units in a concept called "affinity housing." The affinity housing concept, according to the university press release, will "provide space for groups of students to create their own living communities." Michelle Sherrard, GW's director of media relations, further detailed the concept in an email to DCMud. "Students in clubs, organizations or athletics teams can create their own living community around their interests," she explained. She said the housing units would feature large common kitchen and living areas and beds for 16 to 20 students.
With 270,000 s.f. of above-grade space, plans also call for 64,000 s.f. of underground space for student activities. The University will preserve the West End, Schenley and Crawford halls, which were constructed in the mid 1920's. GW acquired the buildings between 1960 and 1997. According to officials, construction on the new residence hall will begin in mid 2013. It could be completed in time for fall semester, 2016.