AU may cease Tunlaw housing

Complex to be vacated in February

It was announced this summer that Glover-Tunlaw residents would need to find a new home come this Jan. 31 as the building is being closed for evaluation.

The Glover-Tunlaw apartment building is located a mile from campus on New Mexico Avenue. The 60 unit structure is University-sponsored but marketed for graduate students that wish to avoid living in the residence halls.

Executive Director of Housing and Dining Programs Julie Weber said that the complex has been closed to new leases so that AU can properly evaluate what to do with the building once it's empty.

"I believe that it's been somewhere around twenty years that American University has owned the apartment complex," Weber said, "and there have been no major evaluations of the condition of the building ever since."

She said that the reason for the building being vacated is that only then could proper evaluations about the building's condition be conducted since it would be impossible to do it while people were still living there.

Zack Sowe, a graduate student and four-year resident of the Glover-Tunlaw apartments, said that he was surprised at the decision and that although he would be leaving at that time anyway due to completion of graduate school, it was a shame since it offered housing to graduates at an extremely low cost relative to nearby apartments.

He also said that it wasn't until two months ago that he officially read of AU's decision to vacate the building through an e-mail. Before then, he just heard it through the grapevine and "management," he said, "did not even know officially until [the] last minute, it seemed."

Weber said that AU has taken measures to make the process go smoothly, especially since the decision was to have the last leases expire at the beginning of the spring semester. The University has worked to keep students apprised of the situation as decisions were made, Weber said.

On top of this, the residents were allowed to get out of their leases early if necessary, she also said that AU will continue shuttles running until at least Feb. 1, but is uncertain whether it will be continued through the spring semester. Transportation Services plans to evaluate the student demand for a shuttle to the area.

She said that she realizes that some students use the shuttles that do not necessarily live at Glover-Tunlaw, and Transportation Services will take this into consideration.

Additionally, she maintains that despite speculation, "The decision not to renew leases after October was in no way an effort of AU to draw more students to the Park Bethesda residence complex."

In her opinion, Park Bethesda seems generally to draw different kinds of students. She said that while both house graduate students, Glover-Tunlaw remains more like an on-campus residence hall with the rowdy college scene than Park Bethesda and is not as favorable for students with spouses and family.

You cannot bring alcohol onto the property of Glover-Tunlaw, for example, while these kinds of restrictions would not apply to a student at Park Bethesda. Additionally, Weber said that of all the students that she talked, only one of them was moving into Park Bethesda.

Despite this, students at Park Bethesda definitely noticed an increase in students moving to the complex since the decision not to lease out the Glover-Tunlaw apartments.

Graduate student, Samia Akbar, living at Park Bethesda said that she "definitely noticed an increase in residents, and according to people who lived here last year, the parking lot is fuller." She also said however, that she doesn't "think the increase in occupancy has anything to do with people coming from the Glover-Tunlaw apartments."

The future of the complex is the only question that remains, and Weber said that this is unknown.

"We won't even begin to know what the best use for the building is until we can get to the ins and outs of it to see its condition and potential," Weber said.

She said that for example if they want to continue to use it as an apartment complex, they may need to see if it is conducive to married students and those who also have children. They may also find potential for another use of the building or decide to sell the building.

"Anything is a possibility," Weber said. "We just have to first get in there to see"

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