Georgetown announced in 2006 that it was going to use a 56-acre property it had bought the year before in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northern Virginia to build a “Contemplative Center.” Two years later, the University hasn’t even filed for a construction permit.
The center was supposed to house programs Campus Ministry programs like ESCAPE. Its $5.3 million price tag was to be covered by a $10 million donation by Arthur Calcagnini Jr. (COL ’54).
The center would have areas for religious services, art projects, meditations, and “perhaps even a ropes course”. Most interesting for current students, “the center could be ready for guests by the end of 2008.”
Now, months away from the proposed end of 2008 deadline, it looks like very little progress has been made. Georgetown has yet to submit the necessary application, site plans, or special use permit that must be approved before construction can begin. Plus, conservation-minded locals are already up in arms about the preservation of a 19th century farmhouse located on the property.
University Spokesperson Julie Green-Bataille writes in an email:
“…[O]nce the approvals are granted, we anticipate a 12 month construction time period so opening would be after that –the time frames in the [Blue & Gray] article are obviously outdated as we still haven’t secured the approvals but the plans have been presented to the local community on several occasions and we’re moving forward through the process.”
My guess is Georgetown students will be waiting a while longer for that ropes course. We’ll be sure to update you as the project gets further mired in Georgetown’s and Clarke’s unique morasses.