University presents future housing options that could meet Campus Plan requirements
In a student engagement session last night, University administrators revealed a change in the discussion about the satellite residence that has been the scandal of the season: it is now a temporary option to house students while on-campus housing is renovated and built to meet the goals of the 2010 Campus Plan. The administration also outlined the possible locations for future on-campus housing.
Vice President of Planning and Facility Management Robin Morey said the satellite residence could be used to meet the 2015 goal of 385 more beds, but that option would not be a permanent solution as part of the 2025 requirement to house 90 percent of students on campus.
“Now you’re 10, 15 years down the road, you’ve used your off-campus housing, you don’t need it anymore because you’ve built [the] capacity you need and you’ve renovated what you’ve needed so then you’re done with the off-campus, and you’re all on-campus, 90 percent, that’s our goal,” Morey said. Morey said these residences would later be used for graduates interested living in the city, possibly closer to a Metro stop.
GUSA President Nate Tisa said that when news broke of the satellite option the University had not mentioned that it would be optional.
“[This change] is great news, I’m happy to hear it. They weren’t saying that three weeks ago. It sounds like they’re starting to hear student voices,” Tisa said.
This 2015 deadline forces Georgetown to act quickly, which is why temporary satellite housing would be an option, Morey said. In the meantime, the University is mainly focusing on three on-campus possibilities, hoping to complete a second dorm in addition to the Northeast Triangle.
There are still several options of the table, which Vox has outlined for you here:
Building the Northeast Triangle
Housing developments in the Northeast Quad remains one of the most viable options available to the University within this time frame. With designs already in place, the project could be completed in as few as 18 months, well within the deadline but still approximately 120 beds short of the goal, according to Morey.
Renovating Ryan-Mulledy Hall
Renovating Ryan and Mulledy Halls, the buildings directly left of Healy Hall, is also on the table. Ryan and Mulledy compose the former Jesuit residences prior to the completion of Wolfington in 2003. Mulledy has been unoccupied since then and Ryan was home to the Woodstock Theological Center until it closed in June. Both buildings have structural and safety issues, including asbestos, and would require major renovations. Because the University prefers to keep that area of campus purely academic, the administration was hesitant to consider it. With the approaching deadline, however, it is an option that could potentially meet the goal on time.
Apartment-style dorms on Harbin Patio
Building on the Harbin patio area is also being seriously considered, though this would likely be used to reach the 2025 goal, as it would likely not meet this deadline. The building would possibly be in the form of apartments to appeal to upperclassmen.
Renovating Kober Cogan, a hospital building
Kober Cogan, a hospital building just north of Leavey, also presents another opportunity. The University has been negotiating with Medstar, the company that owns the Georgetown Hospital, over the past eight months. The University hopes to come to an agreement with the company and sees this as a highly viable option, though negotiations could last a while. However, Morey did not believe it would be a viable option for the 2015 deadline.
Building on and repurposing the Leavey Center
Housing in the Leavey Center could involve two possible outcomes: renovating the student activities area upstairs and/or building an entirely new tower just behind it.
Renovating Leavey would force the university to relocate all of the student group offices on the upper floors. “It’s an option, but it’s not desirable,” Morey said.
The hotel itself is not a serious consideration, as it is useful for the hospital and the MSB for their conferences. However, the lease expires in December 2014, so Morey confirmed that the hotel is still an option, although not desirable.
Other options the University is considering for the future
The addition of a fourth building in the Southwest Quad, closing the building into a square with a court yard and housing in the McDonough parking lot are also on the drawing board, though they were not discussed much aside from that.
The McDonough parking lot, while it would be easier to build on than some other options, would take away from the cohesiveness of the campus, Morey said. Also the zoning for such a building would be more difficult, as it is near the Glover-Archbold Park.
If these options all take more than two years to build or renovate…
If none of these options are able to be completed by 2015, the University said it would seriously consider the satellite residence, though they would not force any students to live there. The University will be administering its own survey outside of the referendum to gauge student interest.
“It is not in our interest to have a core group of our students in a location that they don’t want to be in. We want to make on campus housing viable and attractive,” Morey said.
On a side note, check out all the food they had there. Too bad the University’s strategy of luring us in to discuss serious campus developments with sandwiches isn’t quite working—only one student who isn’t part of campus media was there to eat it.
Photos: Maria Abadilla/Georgetown Voice