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

Administrators Discuss Master Planning at Hoya Roundtable

Students and administrators met Feb. 4 in the Healey Family Student Center’s great room to discuss campus master planning and the ramifications of construction on student life as part of the Hoya Roundtable series.

Hoya Roundtable was established in January 2012 by Chief Operating Officer Christopher Augostini to garner student input on campus and student life issues. Wednesday’s event served to specifically address the need for student input on the master planning process in conjunction with the Planning 301 initiative.

Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey began the discussion by advocating for increased green space for student use as a major component of the master plan, with the former Jesuit Residence as an example of how the University can take already existing infrastructure and repurpose it into useable land.

“Green space is something that we are focused on in this plan; almost every project that we are doing has a component of green, open, sustainable space,” Morey said.

Morey continued by emphasizing the need to better utilize existing facilities and solidify the administration’s commitment to improving the present infrastructure on campus.

“While we are talking about new building programs, we also want to make sure we address our existing infrastructure and maintenance needs,” Morey said. “We are not effectively utilizing the classroom space that we have…why build more classrooms and invest in [academic buildings] if we can schedule better?”

Presenting an overview of the updated campus master plan, Morey preemptively explained the planning team’s vision for two potential projects—a new surgical pavilion developed by MedStar on the northwest edge of campus—and a new student-life focused corridor that would run up and down Tondorf Road, adjacent to Shaw Multi-Purpose Field and Harbin Hall.

“We are working with our partners at MedStar in the development of a potential new surgical [building],” Morey said. “Part of that development is building a new surgical pavilion…which would ingrain its front [entrance] and make a proper approach or front door into what we see as the entrance to Georgetown University.”

Morey explained that the proposed student-life corridor would serve to connect the south end of campus starting from the Healey Family Student Center, to the Leavey Center and the north side of campus. This student-life corridor would serve as the capstone to a potential new residential building on Harbin patio or a multi-purpose academic facility.

“This new Harbin facility—with a residential component, a student life component—think about it as mixed-use,” Morey said. “A new academic space that is flexible, can accommodate quick set-ups, take downs and changes in configuration.”

In addition to the construction of new residence halls, Morey emphasized the need to renew and renovate student housing campus-wide.

“We have also got to have a certain amount of students on campus, however, how do we do that without backfill, and what we would call swing-space [temporary housing]? Maybe there is a residential component [in addition to] the Northeast Triangle and Henle…maybe that can add as an anchor to build more synergy on the north side of campus in terms of student-life.” Morey said.

Answering questions for over 30 minutes, both Morey and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson fielded inquiries on topics such as the negative implications of construction on student-life, the impact on student affairs that less funding due to construction projects may have, and the impact that deferred maintenance, maintenance put off by construction and a build-up of work requests, will have on a Georgetown student’s college experience.

When asked whether new construction projects would be detrimental to the renovation of current housing and the continued maintenance of facilities, Morey was adamant that both could occur simultaneously.

“I don’t think [the answer] is to commit to one and not do the other, I think we have to do both at the same time,” Morey said. “I think it is a reality we are faced with.”

The roundtable was primarily attended by students in the Georgetown University Student Association.

GUSA senator and GUSA executive vice-presidential candidate Reno Varghese (SFS ’16) emphasized the importance of Hoya Roundtable discussions.

“More students really need to get involved, and I think it can’t just be on GUSA,” Varghese said.

“I think there needs to be a lot more from the broader student body, and [the administration] should be doing this more often.”

GUSA Senator Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) appreciated the engagement from the administration and emphasized a dire need to implement new dining options in the campus plan moving forward.

“In terms of dining, students aren’t happy,” Khan said. “We were making progress especially with the meal swipes program, but we have reached a stall in that. All it comes down to is that we do not have enough space for dining.”

GUSA Senator and co-chair of the campus plan subcommittee Ari Goldstein (COL ’18) affirmed the importance of Hoya Roundtables and increased communication with university administration, but emphasized that discussion is only the first step in a long process for effectual change.

“I was very glad to be here; the issues that they talk about affect every facet of student life over the next 20 years,” Goldstein said. “It is a fantastic first step, but it is also one-sided dialogue. I am curious to see where the follow up is, if there is follow up, and how that translates into changes in policy and the master plan.”

Olson emphasized engagement on the part of students moving forward.

“In addition to this sort of broad concept we are exploring, promoting and talking about, we are interested in your feedback on anything that has been presented tonight: what looks promising, what concerns may have been raised, and what other ideas you may have,” Olson said. “We want to hear from you.”

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