Georgetown administrators and officials are in the process of negotiating a partnership with the development firm Forest City Washington to determine the location and scope of the University’s campus expansion. Administrators hope that the partnership will allow Georgetown to continue growing and developing as a university in the coming years.
“We need to step back and think in a long term way to have the maximum best foot print for students and faculty,” Chris Augostini, Georgetown’s Chief Operating Officer, said. “We needed a really sophisticated organization to help us organize this.”
After interviewing different development firms in the District area, the University selected Forest City. The decision was based on Forest City’s previous successes in the D.C. metro area, such as revitalizing the Navy Yard area. Forest City has also developed projects with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and the University of Pennsylvania.
“I think they came to us for our market knowledge,” Gary McManus of Forest City Washington said.
Administrators want to make the best use of the current space that Georgetown is occupying. Partnering with Forest City will allow them to plan for expansion and change in the most effective way.
“What they’re really doing is providing us a depth of service around planning,” Augostini said. “[We’re] asking them to give us good robust options to consider and then tell us what are the implications for those options.”
Forest City will be very involved in the search for a possible satellite campus, Georgetown Downtown, for the university. Georgetown intends to keep growing, but due to the recent campus plan agreement, the university will not be able to continue growing at a fast rate and still keep all classes and students on the current campus. The idea is to expand at a different location so as to minimize the effects on the surrounding Georgetown community.
“We’ll help them investigate other sites that might be appropriate [for expansion],” McManus said. “We’ll look at what their needs are and match that up to the few sites that are available that can accommodate them. It’s a huge deal for the university and it’s a huge deal for the city.”
Administrators are excited about the partnership and want to make sure that as many members of the Georgetown community are involved in the planning as possible, from students to faculty to administrators. The developments that the university will make in the coming years will affect everyone involved with the school.
“This is a very natural step for a very large complex institution like Georgetown to take,” Augostini said. “This will have long term implications; we want to make strategic long term decisions.”
Photo by Flickr User Kenneth Garrett
Additional reporting by Vanya Mehta