During the D.C. Zoning Commission’s speedy meeting last Monday, the expansion of the Georgetown Hotel & Conference Center was briefly mentioned in discussions over the campus plan. As part of the revised agreement, the University will house an additional 450 students on campus by fall 2015. Sixty-five of those beds will come from relocating the townhouses on the 1400 block of 36th street, but a whole 385 beds will come from the conversion of the Leavey Center into a dormitory.
According to University spokeswoman Stacy Kerr, the building as it stands now can only house an estimated 250 beds, so the remaining 135 beds will come from an extension of the building to the East. “There is no finished design,” Kerr wrote in an email to Vox. “We’ll begin design work in the next few months. Our goals with the addition are to keep the height equal to the current building, and to build eastward from the hotel tower – toward the bookstore.”
The campus plan agreement allows Georgetown to add on and renovate the Leavey Center without further approval from the Zoning Commission, even though there are not yet any definitive plans yet for its construction. The commissioners were initially unsure about whether they should allow the University to bypass zoning procedure without knowing any specifics about the building.
However, Georgetown administrators presented the commission with one copy of the preliminary plans for Leavey, which all of the commissioners huddled around to see. After inspecting the document, they agreed that any addition would be fine. “There really is no further consumption of precious ground on the campus, which I think might have been the only concern,” Commissioner Peter May said. “I think this is a perfectly acceptable addition to this building and doesn’t require any further discussion.”
As Vox previously reported, planning for the Leavey Center will not begin until this fall, but, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson, the rooms will probably be like a “spacious Village C,” considering each room contains a bathroom. Also, considering that hotel rooms are substantially bigger than typical dorm rooms, the building could contain triples.
Since planning is not complete for the building, it’s unclear when construction on the structure will begin. It’s also unclear how hotel workers will be affected in the transition or whether or not they are aware of the plans. For her part, Aramark spokeswoman Karen Cutler has said that “we are working very closely with the University on the timing of the conversion from hotel to residence hall.”
Vox will continue to review the future of certain aspects of the plan throughout the summer.