GW Mailroom Renovations Postponed to December

Student Council’s plan to renovate the mailroom has run into delays due to a backlog of work at the Office of the Physical Plant (OPP). Although Student Council received $20,000 in Abbot Grants last year in hopes of renovating the mailroom over the summer, the renovations are now slated to occur over Winter Break, according to Secretary of Student Council Carolyn Brown ’09. The extensive construction that occurred around campus this summer created a long list of projects that has kept OPP busy, according to Director of Facilities Michael Williams. OPP launched a wide range of facility upgrades this summer, including the renovation of the lobby of Samuel Phillips Hall and the repainting of hallways and classrooms in the building. In addition, OPP and a contracted construction company are converting the Smith Ice Rink into a temporary dining hall for use while Commons is being refurbished from December until Spring 2009. OPP also remodeled Johnson Hall this summer. With all these projects underway, Williams said that the only renovations that could occur at GW over the summer were roof repairs. He also said that the project to restore the mailroom was still on schedule. Brown and other Student Council members decided that a place visited as frequently as the mailroom would benefit greatly from a new atmosphere. Brown said that the Abbot Grant was a success for Student Council because they worked all of last year on the project and were awarded all of the money that they asked for. Student Council initially secured a grant of $7,000 from the Abbot Academy Association during Fall Term last year, but later decided that a complete renovation would require significantly more funding. Student Council applied for an additional $13,000 during Spring Term. Their Abbot Grant proposal called for more than $10,000 to fund couches. Another $1,200 went towards outdoor floodlights and nearly $4,000 was allocated for replacing floor tiles. “Unfortunately, after re-evaluating everything we want to do, we have realized that [$7,000] is not enough to do a full job. We would really love for GW to be a space where students can look forward to doing homework and hanging out; if we were to go ahead with our $7,000 plan, it would only be half an effort,” wrote Brown, Maura Mulroy ’07, and Akosua Oforiwaa-Ayim ’07 in their second Abbot Grant proposal last year. According to Director of Student Activities Cynthia Efinger, the mailroom’s old couches will be removed and placed in dorms. The new couches will be bigger and semi-circular, ideal for a small group of people, Efinger said. Ms. Efinger plans to add wooden tables and chairs, as well as a 52-inch television, which will broadcast CNN during school hours. Students will be able to watch what they want after 5 p.m. and on weekends. Ms. Efinger also said that the new mailroom could be a location for poetry readings, Acoustic Night and other weekend events. In light of the new rules limiting student behavior in the library, Efinger said that the new mailroom could provide an alternative location for students to socialize. “I think that [the mailroom] is going to be a very effective place for students to hang out and have fun, but also get work done during the day,” Efinger said. Although Brown said she was disappointed to find that the changes had not been made before the school year, she thinks that the plans for the space will still make students excited. “It’s good that we know that it will definitely happen in December. I think the students will really enjoy the space and think it’s a cool place to hang out,” said Brown.