Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

New South Student Space Projected to Open by 2014

The university unveiled plans at a student forum on Monday night to finish the New South Student Center by August 2014.

Updated architectural models for the space include a club-like food venue, breakout rooms, a gathering space and a large multi-purpose room for banquets, lectures, musical performances and other events.

Fundraising for the renovation, estimated to cost $15.5 million, will begin as part of a planned Capital campaign set to kick off at the end of the month.

The center could also include space to serve alcohol, according to Todd Olson, vice president for student affairs. The proposed alcohol venue would resemble a bar or lounge but would not be solely focused on serving alcohol.

“The administration is seriously interested in having a venue that serves alcohol in that space,” Olson said.

Olson addressed concerns that a venue serving alcohol would detract from the student center’s intended undergraduate focus, saying that New South’s location will help moderate graduate student presence. In order to offer the new amenities, the renovated space will no longer provide office space for student organizations.

According to Olson, clubs that currently work out of the Riverside Lounge will likely be moved to theLeavey Center, which will undergo a restoration process of its own within a few years.

Architect Bill Ash of SmithGroup, the firm that is designing the center, cautioned that the designs were not permanent.

“The plans are just a guideplate. They are absolutely not set in stone,” he said.

Ash laid out a timetable for the renovation process that he described as “aggressive.” The timeline detailed the fundraising campaign and the current feasibility stage, during which SmithGroup will assess how its design plans will fit with the student space, will be followed by a design documentation process that is expected to run from May 2012 to February 2013.

Georgetown University Student Association Senator Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), who serves as chair of the Finance and Appropriations Committee, described GUSA’s role in the redesign as one aimed at facilitating continued student input in the process.

“GUSA is responsible for ensuring students have an appropriate and important voice in the student center,” Malkerson said.

According to Ash, students will have a more involved role in planning the center’s function andaesthetic once the design phase begins.

GUSA will also determine the extent to which student finances contribute to the renovation based on a student body referendum slated for the end of this semester. If other plans for the Student Activities Fee Endowment fall through — including the proposed Healy Pub — the student center could receive up to $1.75 million of student funding.

With additional funding from students, the space could feature design enhancements such as a green roof and fireplaces, according to Malkerson.

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