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

Athletic Facilities May Improve

Plans to provide Georgetown with more adequate athletic facilities have finally begun to make progress. For the first time, renovation objectives to athletic facilities are actually included in Georgetown University’s master plan. Although most specifics are still in the theoretical stages, there is a good chance that Georgetown will create a better home for its NCAA teams as well as intramural squads.

There are currently several construction plans in the works, including the new boathouse, the Southwest Quadrangle Project, a new performing arts center, a multi-sport facility on Harbin Field and renovation of Kehoe Field and in McDonough Gymnasium.

As for the athletic facilities, according to men’s basketball Head Coach Craig Esherick, “There are actually drawings of this. They are not final, but it’s a beginning.

“We haven’t formally presented our plans to the district yet. We have visions right now, but the visions are far further along than they have ever been in terms of actually raising the money and having something we can show people.”

The athletic-related plans first include transforming Harbin Field into a multi-sport facility, which would house the men’s and women’s soccer teams, men’s and women’s lacrosse teams and the football team. There would be grandstands on both sides of the Astroturf field, one would seat about 3,500 seats and include offices, locker rooms and a weight room for all of those teams, and the other would accommodate another 1,000 and would serve as the “away team” seating.

According to Lang, there was a lengthy debate among the Board of Regents on the location of the prospective multi-sport facility with Harbin Field emerging as the winner. Lang says that although it is unlikely unless building plans change in the future, the baseball field could always be brought back to its original location. Building the multi-sport facility on the old baseball field would eliminate this possibility.

Once this first stage is completed, several offices can be moved from McDonough into the new multi-sport facility, creating the space necessary for the much-desired expansion of the basketball court and stands. Expansion plans include renovating within the walls, rather than creating a whole new structure, significantly cutting costs.

“It’s the same space, but we’ve changed it dramatically,” Lang said.

According to Esherick, after turning the court 180 degrees, the plan is to dig down and build a bowl that will contain the court and about 1,500 seats. There will be more stands on both sides, adding up to somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000 seats. Investigations have deemed the plan feasible because there are no pipes resting under the area of the building that would interfere with digging. In addition, a practice facility would be added between the existing building and the observatory to avoid conflicts between the teams using McDonough.

The third step includes the renovation of Kehoe Field. The present field would remain, but three intramural fields would be constructed going in the opposite direction. The grass field adjacent to the turf would serve as a practice field for the women’s soccer team, and the track would be shifted to that field. This specific plan involves one major problem and one major benefit. The difficulty is that the heliport used by the Medical Center rests in the potential location of the new track, however, if a solution concerning this dilemma arises, Yates Field House can finally be air-conditioned. This feat was not previously possible because the track on the roof caused complications.

The benefits of this construction to the Georgetown men’s basketball team would be tremendous. “We had to play two away games in the NIT [last season],” Esherick said. “We told them we could have a home game at McDonough and the NIT basically laughed at us.”

If the renovations to McDonough do take place, Esherick’s plan is to move a majority of the home games back on campus, while, still playing a handful of games at MCI Center. He believes that if cDonough sold out home games, Georgetown students, alums and fans who were unable to get tickets would take the trip downtown to see the team play.

Although on-campus men’s basketball games seem the most prominent attribute of this plan, there would be several functions of the new “convocation center.” In addition to allowing for women’s basketball and volleyball tournaments, Georgetown would be able to comfortably hold convocation, graduation and concerts indoors. The main purpose of the new structure would be to provide students with entertainment events on campus. Esherick indicated this would not increase traffic in Georgetown because students who actually live on campus would be attending the events.

At this point, all the necessary internal boards and executives have approved these plans and have comprised them in the extended campaign. However, several challenging steps remain, including neighborhood and district approval. According to Lang, the neighbors’ responses have not been as negative as anticipated.

“The neighbors have reacted well to the plan,” said Lang, who believes that “if the University can find alternatives for students to socialize on campus, they won’t get into as much trouble in the neighborhood. This is what will sell with the people in the neighborhood.”

However, there is still the concern with increased traffic as a result of this vast expansion. One of the university’s strategies in presenting the plans to the neighborhood includes the idea of renaming the Rosslyn Metro stop to Georgetown.

“We’re the only university not on the map,” Lang said. “We need to put in people’s mind that if you want to go to Georgetown, get off in Rosslyn and take a bus across the bridge.”

The purpose of this plan is to encourage people traveling to campus to take public transportation rather than attempting to drive. By renaming the stop in Rosslyn to Georgetown, people will think of the trip as less of an inconvenience.

According to both Esherick and Lang, these dreams may soon become reality. The initial step of dealing with the people at Georgetown is complete. After talking to architects and planning the elements, fundraising efforts need to continue in order to realize this project.

“We’ve done a feasibility study. We know we can do this,” Lang said. “The attempt is to establish a sense of place.”

While Esherick is positive, he still doubts that the whole plan may be completed in the immediate future.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m just trying to bring that light closer to us,” he said.

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