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The Blue & Gray Press | October 24, 2017

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GW Steps Closed Until Spring

By Anne Longerbeam

Less than a year after about $1 million was spent renovating George Washington Hall at due to mold growth, major repairs have started again.
According to a campus wide facilities services’ e-mail, beginning Friday, Nov. 14 until “further notice,” the front steps of George Washington Hall will be closed due to repairs of flooding of the basement. The only exceptions will be on Friday, Dec. 5 and Monday, Jan. 19 for campus events.
Water damage in the basement of GW Hall was primarily caused by the deterioration of the life of the building, according to John Wiltenmuth, associate vice president of facilities services.  Many of the original systems, including the exterior basement waterproofing and drainage systems, have deteriorated since the building’s original construction during the Great Depression.
Wiltenmuth stated that the current construction budget to repair GW Hall is $500,000.  This project is state-funded, and includes a new generator for Information Technologies’ Systems at the Stafford campus location.
The construction budget also includes landscaping around GW Hall, according to Joni Wilson, Director of Landscape and Grounds.
Several trees and bushes have been cleared in front of GW Hall in order for construction workers to gain access to the basement.
Wilson said that the entire right side of landscaping at GW Hall was already removed earlier in the year, without many people noticing.
Wilson says the university hopes to complete the GW landscaping project before the inauguration of Preisdent Judy G. Hample on April 3, 2009.
Assistant Director of user services of the Department of Information Technologies Pam Lowery, whose office located in the basement of GW Hall, described the construction as something people have wanted for years.
“What they’re doing now is proactive in order to try to alleviate the problem so that it doesn’t continue to happen,” Lowery said. “Anytime the area gets a significant amount of rain, water does come into the building.”
Other than the closure of the front steps, no other precautions such as vacating offices will need to take place during the repairs to the basement.
Students’ main concern with the repairs to GW Hall is the amount of money spent constantly renovating the space.
Junior Harrison Roberts commented on the efficiency of facilities services.
“I think they should’ve done a better job with it the first time around,” Roberts said. “However, I feel that it is important for us to keep our facilities up to date to prevent any further damages.”
Junior Jenna Calautti received the facilities’ services e-mail and was surprised.
“I got the e-mail and I was surprised that the stairs were closed,” Calautti said. “I didn’t think that they would close them for such a long period of time.”
Wiltenmuth stated that the repairs to the basement of GW Hall are scheduled for completion over the next several months.