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The George Washington University Charles E. Smith Center Enters Final Stage of Renovation
April 06, 2010
WASHINGTON—The renovation of GW’s main athletic and campus event facility begins its final construction phase this spring. The third phase of the Charles E. Smith Center renovation will begin this month, and will dramatically transform the exterior of the building.
The majority of the building's exterior will be demolished and replaced with glass and metal in an effort to provide a welcoming and energized face to the building. Other changes include renovations to the lobby, box office and improvements to two auxiliary gyms. A new concessions concourse will feature new refreshment options, trophy cases, a Hall of Fame and upgraded bathrooms.
During the final phase of construction, the north and south parking lanes adjacent to the building will be closed between 23rd and 22nd streets. The parking lane on the west side of 22nd Street between F and G streets will be closed except during rush hour. Sidewalks will be intermittently closed as construction activities necessitate. Fencing, work trailers and other equipment will be in place throughout the summer and certain entrances to the Smith Center also will be temporarily closed. But the Charles E. Smith Center will remain open without interruption of planned events. During Commencement Weekend (May 12-16), volunteers and additional signage will direct graduates and their guests to appropriate entrances.
The renovations are made possible because of a $10 million challenge gift from the Robert H. Smith and Charles E. Smith Family Foundations and Robert P. and Arlene R. Kogod, one of the largest philanthropic gifts in GW’s history, which was committed in February 2008.
The renovation project first began in early 2009. Since then, the old bleacher-style seats have been replaced with chair back seating. A Colonials Club lounge with courtside seating opened inside the arena, and new energy-efficient HVAC systems were installed. Renovations to the fitness room, varsity weight room, athletic director offices, sports medicine suite and natatorium (pool area) have also been completed. Each of the 14 men’s and women’s sports teams now has its own locker room, and student athletes can take advantage of wireless Internet, new computers and study spaces throughout the building’s academic center.
The renovation includes many “green” features such as energy-efficient lighting in the arena that is projected to save about $66,000 per year in electricity costs and flooring made of recycled tires in the weight room and fitness center.
The full renovation of the Charles E. Smith Center is expected to be completed by early 2011.
The Charles E. Smith Center was dedicated on December 6, 1975, replacing the "Tin Tabernacle" gymnasium. The building is named for the late Charles E. Smith, nationally renowned real estate developer and leader in the Washington, D.C. community. Charles E. Smith received an honorary doctor of public service degree from GW in 1979. He served as a GW trustee from 1967 to 1976 and was chairman of the committee on university development. His son, the late Robert H. Smith, was a trustee emeritus who served on the board in 1976 and again from 1978 to 1997. David Bruce Smith, B.A. '79, son of Robert H. and grandson of Charles E. Smith, has served as a member of GW's Board of Trustees since 2002.
MEDIA CONTACTS:Michelle Sherrard - 202-994-1423 -
Candace Smith - 202-994-3566 -