Prefrosh Preview: Campus construction, campus plans, and you

Congratulations, Class of 2018, on your decision to come to Georgetown University, a college campus that is about to have at least three major construction projects that will progress simultaneously!

Upon your arrival to the Hilltop, you’ll realize that University housing is a much-discussed topic that has its roots in the 2010 Campus Plan agreement reached between the University and the local government. The Campus Plan is renewed every 10 years and is necessary for the local government to allow Georgetown to exist in the area.

In 2012, the University agreed to a campus plan that, among other obligations, required Georgetown University to provide 385 additional on-campus beds by 2015 and, eventually, to house 90 percent of undergraduates on campus by 2020. Deliberations on the campus plan that took place two to three years ago, in which our neighbors extensively complained about Georgetown students’ party-loving, noise-making, alcohol-drinking habits, showed why they wanted this to happen.

As a result, off-campus housing is now a privilege, not a right,” students are no longer able to live in some University-owned townhouses, and students now have to live on campus for at least three years. The University is therefore starting some construction projects over the summer to comply with the 2015 deadline.

Northeast Triangle dorm

The Northeast Triangle is the project that will provide the majority of the beds the Campus Plan requires. It’s not actually much of a triangle, but more of a patch of sparse green opposite the Reiss Science Building. Its design has prompted heated controversy and discussion in the past, even prompting a group of angry students and alumni to start a Change.org petition that urges the University to solicit completely new designs. The final design, presented in April, includes a green roof, study rooms with natural lighting, and rooms that you can open using your GOCard, all firsts for any residence hall.

Bureaucratic approval processes from the Old Georgetown Board, the D.C. Zoning Commission, and last year’s government shutdown have, in addition to the design changes, delayed the construction project. Works are slated to begin this summer, depending on when the University receives the appropriate construction permits, and will continue for two years.

Unfortunately for you, because more juniors and seniors will get housing eligibility, University administrators expect that sophomores will typically live in the Northeast Triangle when it’s finally complete, and will no longer be able to get apartments for sophomore year.

While the Northeast Triangle Dorm and the Old Jesuit Residence renovation will add enough beds to satisfy the requirement, the Northeast Triangle Dorm’s construction has been delayed, meaning temporary housing options must be added for the 2015-2016 academic year. That means some students might also find themselves living in the Leavey Center Hotel or a forced triple in the Southwest Quad during sophomore year. The University is currently finalizing plans to convert two floors of the hotel to student housing.

Old Jesuit Residence

Earlier this month, the University began a $25 million renovation of Ryan and Mulledy Halls, first built in 1904 originally as a student residence hall in Dahlgren Quad, the heart of Georgetown’s old campus. Before they were abandoned in 2003, the buildings housed the University’s Jesuit community.

According to student forums held in March, the new halls will have suites and semi-suites, and the renovation will take into consideration the building’s historic features, such as a dining hall, a sunroom, and a former Jesuit chapel. Providing rare views of Rosslyn and the main campus at a convenient location, these new residence halls are actually pretty appealing for future upperclassmen.

The renovations are scheduled to finish by summer 2015.

Intercollegiate Athletic Center

This final construction project is the only new building unrelated to the University’s scramble to adhere to the Campus Plan. Planned to be built adjacent to McDonough Gymnasium, where you’ll be spending a lot of time during New Student Orientation, the $60 million building will house practice courts, locker rooms and other student-athlete facilities. The IAC will be named after former men’s basketball coach John Thompson Jr., who led Georgetown to its first and only national championship victory in 1984. Construction work on this building is expected to start this summer and will finish in two years.

For those of you who are entering Georgetown as a student-athlete, hooray! You’ll get a sparkling new building to use when you’re a junior. For the rest of us, while we probably won’t be able to use the IAC’s facilities, The Hoya reported in Mar. 2014 that varsity athletes won’t have to train at Yates Field House, so we can confidently embarrass ourselves at the gym without being judged by people who actually know how to use the equipment.

Photo: Georgetown Voice/Marla Abadilla

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