Vox takes a grand tour of the Old Jesuit Residence
Every other Wednesday and Friday from now until the end of February, students can tour the Old Jesuit Residence, which is slated to be complete by Aug. 2015 to open in the next academic year as the “Spirit of Georgetown Residential Academy”: a swanky name fit for the Hilltop’s swankiest dorms.
Last Friday afternoon, Vox donned a hard hat and joined an intimate tour with Senior Project Manager Brian Barger from the university’s Office of Design and Construction and a contractor from Manhattan Construction to take a look at what’s inside this classy new “Residential Academy”. The purpose of the tours is to help foster community interest in the construction project.
“We’re not just here to make noise. We’re also doing great things for the community,” Barger told Vox. “We want the students to have a chance to participate, to walk the site, see what’s going on, so it’s not a big construction site that you can’t cross until it’s done.”
In addition, the university will be revealing a mockup of a 6-bedroom, non-lofted apartment to students on the afternoon of Feb. 6 to get feedback on the furniture planned for the common spaces in each apartment.
Manhattan Construction has, so far, completed asbestos removal and demolition work and is in the process of restoring the building’s windows and pouring new concrete on the floors. Vox had to use his imagination rather than his eyes to see what the JesRes will look like, although Barger helped by carrying around floor plans and historical photographs to give a better picture of the past as well as what to expect for the future of the building.
On the first floor where the JesRes faces Dahlgren Quad, the building will house a Campus Ministry space and a student lounge space much like the Healey Family Student Center, though those public spaces might not be ready until after the dorm opens. The university also plans for the JesRes to have the strongest Wi-Fi signals on campus, as well as for the building to get LEED Silver status.
Vox also got wind of living arrangement details in the Spirit of Georgetown Residential Academy during the tour. The laundry room, which will be in the basement, will have six dryers and five washers. Wood-textured floors are planned for all the rooms and all the corridors will be carpeted.
The fourth floor, which will house 4-person semi-suites like the ones in Copley Hall, will have a common kitchen with access to a roof balcony, from which the Kennedy Center and the monuments are visible. Perhaps the swankiest rooms are the 8-person apartments in the Academy, which will cover over 1500 square foot of space and will each have a balcony with sweeping views of D.C. and beyond.
Barger told Vox that the JesRes held a few historical surprises during the construction process. The university has found art frames from the Revolutionary War, a check that a departing Jesuit left behind, and perhaps most fascinating of all, damaged and broken crosses from Dahlgren Chapel.
“One of our construction superintendents was looking at Dahlgren Chapel and noted the difference and we started looking into it and found out that there were actually the old crosses,” Barger said. “So what Father [Kevin] O’Brien S.J. and Father [John] Langan S.J. have instructed us to do is actually bury it on the ground floor underneath the slabs and so it’ll still be part of the building and Jesuit history will live on.”
Photo: Kenneth Lee/Georgetown Voice