Thursday, June 21, 2007

Goodbye to Old Main

For the past three years, 401C Old Main has been my home away from home, the office where I spend most of my time on campus. But, as you can see, it's walls are now bare and the room is filled with boxes of books, files, binders, journals, and the occasional stray toy. Before too long, the political science department will move to its newly renovated digs, the appropriately named Monroe Hall-Hall of Government complex.

Once we make the two-block move, we'll be greeted with nice views of the university's rose garden and Kogan Plaza, not to mention the Washington Monument. We'll also enjoy the complex's right-in-the-middle-of-campus convenience, as well as the aesthetic spoils of a $40 million (or something like that) renovation.

But we will be losing out in some small, but important ways. Old Main is a rarity on an urban campus--a building with a lawn in front of it. It's kind of like the university's liberal artsy-looking location. As a former Fummer, I've enjoyed that aspect of life in Old Main.

Then there's the office size thing. GW acquired Old Main a few years back from an association (some underwriter's group, I believe). As such, the offices are not the egalitarian, cookie cutters that we in the academy tend to favor. In other words, there are some really BIG offices, the likes of which most of us will never see again, absent a change in career. Time to downsize!

It's unclear (to me, at least) what's going to happen to Old Main. The university has been using it as "swing space" for department's like mine that are waiting to move into their new homes. I suppose this could continue indefinitely, as GW continues to upgrade its physical plant, or as it has been uncharitably put, "eat Foggy Bottom." But I have this sneaking suspicion that a big dorm might one day stand where I am writing this. Now that would certainly get our neighbors in an uproar!



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