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

University Considers Converting Leavey Hotel into Dorm

The university is currently targeting the Georgetown University Hotel in the Leavey Center as a possible location for new on-campus student housing.

A Georgetown commissioned housing analysis submitted to the District of Colombia Zoning Commission in June and obtained by The Hoya on Thursday pinpointed the site as the best location for additional undergraduate housing. The development of a dorm would create the 250 student beds that Georgetown has promised to add to the campus in the course of the debate over the 2010 Campus Plan.

Rachel Pugh, director of media relations, and Karen Frank, vice president for facilities and student housing, confirmed that the conversion of the hotel into a residence hall is currently being seriously pursued.

Transitioning the hotel into a student residence ready for occupancy, which would include phasing out reservations and undertaking necessary renovations, would take three and a half years. The university has not indicated a start date for the project or what year of students would be housed in the dormitory, according to the analysis.

Leavey was chosen as the best space for a new student residence because of the financial feasibility of its conversion, its location in the heart of the campus and how quickly it can be prepared for occupancy, the report stated.

The remodel would cost an estimated $8 million, which does not include the revenue lost from

the discontinuation of the hotel operation or the likely decrease in conference center business.

In comparison, if another housing project similar to the Southwest Quadrangle – in which each of the three buildings houses about 250 beds – were to be constructed today, costs would run at about $103,000 per bed or over $25 million per building.

The existing space in Leavey is also already serviced by Pepco power and the university’s heating and cooling plant, which is almost at capacity.

While Leavey has been designated as the most promising location to adequately address student housing needs, the specific plan for conversion into a residence is still being developed.

“We know that a great deal of the learning and growth for students takes place outside of traditional classroom settings in dance studios, athletic fields, dining halls and student organization meeting rooms,” Pugh wrote in an email. “This location would enable students to engage fully in the life of the campus.”

The university’s original Campus Plan included no provisions to develop new student residences within the campus’ front gates. However, after a serious push from the surrounding community, the university agreed in March to find a location for more beds either on campus or outside the immediate West Georgetown and Burleith neighborhoods.

250 beds is the university’s standard minimum for new residence halls, but the maximum number of beds that ensures that an additional dining hall for the community is not needed according to the housing analysis.

The Leavey plan was conceived as early as April when it was mentioned in an email from Associate Vice President for External Relations Linda Greenan to Rob Miller in the Executive Office of the D.C. Mayor.

“The hotel beds would be off-lined, but some portion of the Center may still function as a conference center with meeting space,” Greenan wrote.

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