Drilling and hammering sounds became background noise to students this past academic year. Multiple construction projects — many still in progress — yielded the opening of new buildings and the closing of familiar spots on campus, much to the dismay of students who claimed that the planning of these projects neglected their voices.
In early September, the long-awaited Healey Family Student Center opened as a new space for students to study and socialize. Envisioned as the center of student life on campus, the center hosted various events and conferences, including watch parties for men’s basketball games, and housed two new eateries: Bulldog Tavern and The Hilltoss.
As one project ended, though, multiple others popped up in its place. As part of the 2010 Campus Plan requirement to house 385 more students on campus for the 2015-2016 academic year, construction projects for residence halls continued this year.
In light of these construction projects, as well as the three-year on-campus housing requirement put into motion last spring, students have called for greater representation and involvement in the drafting of the upcoming 2018 Campus Plan, which will decide every major construction project for the next 20 years.
“I think that’s certainly the most important issue for students, particularly with the 2018 Campus Plan — ensuring that we have students involved at every point in the process,” former Georgetown University Student Association Undersecretary for Neighborhood Relations Olivia Hinerfeld (SFS ’17) said in February (“Next Executive Key to 2018 Campus Plan,” A1, The Hoya, Feb. 10).
In March, the GUSA Campus Plan Subcommittee started a petition regarding the 2018 Campus Plan, entitled “Let’s Not Get Screwed Again.” The petition, which had received 2,613 signatures as of April 13, included three main demands from students: the three-year on-campus housing requirement should not further increase, the university should prioritize maintenance of existing buildings over new projects and the Georgetown Community Partnership Steering Committee should recognize student input in their upcoming deliberations.
“It is crucial that students show the Georgetown Community Partnership that they care about the future of Georgetown and will not be excluded from the planning process again,” GUSA Vice President Connor Rohan (COL ’16) said. “Now is the time to speak up.”
One of the most visible changes was the closure of the Leavey Bridge and the Reiss Pathway, which were shuttered midway through the fall semester in October to begin the construction of the Northeast Triangle, a residence hall for 225 students set to open in the fall of 2016. The construction also rerouted the pathway to the entrance of Henle Village.
Because the Northeast Triangle will not open for another year, the Office of Planning and Facilities Management also advanced temporary plans to convert two floors of the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center into student housing for the upcoming school year. The renovations will completed by fall 2015, and 140 sophomores will move into the converted doubles.
Renovations of the former Jesuit Residence in Ryan and Mulledy Halls will be completed by July 2015. After an application process, 148 students will live in the Spirit of Georgetown Living Learning Community next year.
Construction also began on the John R. Thompson, Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center after a groundbreaking ceremony in September. The center received donations totaling $5.3 million from former Georgetown basketball legends Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85), Roy Hibbert (COL ’08) and Jeff Green (COL ’12), bringing it closer to its $62 million fundraising goal. The TAC, located next to McDonough Gym, will house state-of-the-art practice facilities for all varsity sports and is slated for completion in the fall of 2016.
A new $86,000 sand volleyball court funded through donations was also constructed in the Southwest Quadrangle area.
“I understand construction is painful,” Vice President for Planning and Management Robin Morey said in August (“Campus Construction Continues into Fall,” A4, The Hoya, Aug. 26). “But when you think about the students and the community, this is improving Georgetown for the future.”