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

Short on Money, Short on Rooms

GU Projects Remain Underfunded

By Dave Heaton Hoya Staff Writer

When University President Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J., officially took command as president of Georgetown University, he said that he would emphasize the growth of the academic and spiritual community – a departure from his predecessors whom prioritized the development of new buildings on campus.

For the most part, that has been the case. But when the Third Century Campaign was officially announced last fall, there were signs that the face of the university would soon change. Georgetown began preparing to dust off the dumptrucks and cranes – the future of Georgetown looked to be one full of construction: residence halls, academic buildings, athletic structures and more.

Inevitably, the Georgetown of 2010 will be different than the Georgetown of 2000. It will be hard to miss the new building for the Graduate School of Business on the present site of the baseball field.

What will not be different, however, is the cramped atmosphere that permeates Georgetown today. For the past two years, some freshmen have started their Georgetown careers by calling lounges in Harbin their home. What used to be doubles in LXR have become cramped triples. Junior transfers were told over the summer that they would be on their own to find a place to live when they got to Georgetown. And now, the Office of Housing and Conference Services cannot provide housing for 200 rising juniors who want to use their third year of guaranteed on-campus housing.

“It’s not fair that the university can’t even find a place for all of its students to live. I don’t understand why they’re going to raise admissions when they can’t even handle the amount of students they have now,” said Ziad Muasher (SFS ’02), a rising junior that applied for on campus housing next year and will enter the preference lottery on Friday.

Apparently, Georgetown has a housing problem.

Originally designed to placate concerns of neighboring residents that too many students were living in the surrounding neighborhood, the Southwest Quadrangle is already overcrowded and it has not yet been built. As university officials make plans to admit 500 additional students over the next 10 years, beginning with a 50-student per year gradual add-in process, the elbow-room afforded to the university by the 780 additional beds quickly is reduced to 280.

When the 500 new students are combined with the 200 students whom cannot be accommodated by current housing, only 80 of the beds to be found in the new building remain. But, this number diminishes further when taking into account that all junior-year transfers were forced off campus upon arriving at Georgetown. According to the Office of Admissions, the target for transfer admissions next year is declining only by about 30 students to 240. Altogether, even the 780 new spaces for students in the Southwest Quadrangle will not be enough to hold the university’s burgeoning on-campus population.

According to University Architect Alan Brangman, there are no other plans to increase the number of dorm rooms for students on campus. And with no other plans for more rooms on campus, the construction of the Southwest Quadrangle is critical.

However, Jim Tichenor, senior research writer in the office of alumni and university affairs, said that there still are no official groundbreaking plans for the Southwest Quadrangle. His office, which would play a significant role in any groundbreaking ceremony, is spearheading the university’s efforts in the Third Century Campaign.

Though the Southwest Quadrangle is estimated to cost the university more than $25 million, to date only $12.5 million has been raised for construction of the new dorm, according to Tichenor. Additionally, he said that of the five building projects associated with the Third Century Campaign and the 10-year plan, none has raised the necessary funds for construction. The performing arts center is estimated to cost $20 million, though only $16 million has been raised thus far. Similarly, the new science center is estimated at $38 million with $10.3 million raised to date. Only $19 million of the estimated $40 million necessary for the new Graduate School of Business building has been raised, and the school lacks $8 million of the $10 million necessary for the new boat house.

According to Tichenor, the Third Century Campaign thus far has raised $500 million of the targeted $750 million. However, with the campaign scheduled to end in June 2001, the goal of $250 million in a little over a year may be out of reach. Over the five previous years, the school has raised an average of roughly $100 million. When asked if $250 million is realistic, Tichenor said, “we’re working on it.”

Given the current housing crisis facing the university, the implementation of the 10-year plan is crucial. But with holes in funding for the plan and no dates in the immediate future for groundbreaking of any of the projects, including the Southwest Quadrangle, students may have to wait even longer to find relief.

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