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

Room to Breathe

Feeling cramped on campus may not be an issue for much longer.

On Wednesday, the Student Space Working Group released the result of its comprehensive study on student space, which included recommendations for a much-needed expansion of student facilities. While there remain concerns over the goals’ feasibility and a missing deadline schedule, the SSWG should be applauded for its stirring proposal.

In a 2008 survey of undergraduates conducted by the working group, a majority of students responded that they were unsatisfied with the status quo. In response, the SSWG worked to draft a plan with several exciting new ideas to reinvigorate campus.

The report describes four student space expansions. The first is a New South Student Center that would feature club offices, a student ballroom, lounges and a café. This could provide a desperately needed center for student life. Georgetown suffers in comparison to peer institutions when it comes to well-optimized student space. As the report notes, unlike many universities, we lack a real student center; a designated area in New South could make a dent in the disparity.

Second, a much-needed Leavey Center reorganization would address the newfound traffic directed at the building from Hariri and the science center, projected to open in fall 2012. More open access to the Leavey Esplanade is a well-intentioned goal, although it is questionable how physically possible it is to enhance access.

Perhaps the most overdue project is a renovation of Yates Field House, which has remained largely unaddressed since the facility’s completion in 1979. The update is necessary to cope with the growing student body. In addition, potholes in the Astroturf on Kehoe Field currently present safety concerns.

Of all the proposals, the new Central Reservation System should be implemented immediately. The plan would make it simple and efficient for student groups to reserve space on campus, addressing the problems with the labyrinthine system currently in place.

Overall, pragmatic concerns remain. There was already a momentary blip in the university’s construction plans for the new science center, largely due to the poor financial climate. The likelihood of a revamped New South student center dwindles as we witness an already slim budget. Thankfully, the simpler concepts such as the Leavey Center reorganization and the Central Reservation System should be attainable in the near future.

With no recommended timeline for completion, the report lacks the substance that could ensure its long-term viability. Only with clearly outlined goals and a series of deadlines will students and administrators have an idea of what to expect in the coming years.

Students ought to be excited that their concerns about on-campus space options are being addressed.

But the working group’s report is only the beginning of a conversation that will eventually require action through student-administration collaboration. This report deserves praise, attention and an honest review by all at the university.

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