Student leaders and university administrators in the Georgetown Community Partnership expect to announce the 2017 Campus Plan’s framework — which will include plans to prioritize student housing renovations — for public consultation in early June.
The draft plan is set to be submitted to the Office of Zoning by July 1, before the final plan is submitted to the Office of Zoning Sept. 1. In Washington, D.C., campus plans are the formal structure for universities in residential areas to plan anticipated growth and development. This new plan will last until 2037.
The GCP serves as a forum for consensus-based decision-making among university administrators, students and members of the community to develop the framework for the 20-year plan. Georgetown University Student Association President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17), Advisory Neighborhood Council 2E Commissioner Kendyl Clausen (SFS ’16) and Advisory Neighborhood Council 2E Commissioner Reed Howard (SFS ’17) serve on the GCP.
The GCP was formed in 2012 as part of the implementation of the 2010 Campus Plan, following a lengthy legal battle between several Georgetown resident associations and the university during the plan’s negotiations.
Khan said student leaders have a framework for an agreement with university administrators and neighborhood representatives for the draft of the plan, which will focus heavily on student housing and renovations.
“For students, we have made it very clear that our number one priority in terms of housing is renovations. That is something that we are working toward getting into an agreement,” Khan said. “It is essentially saying that renovations will be a priority and that the university’s emphasis will be to create quality housing on campus, which is a win for students, so that students then choose to live on campus, which is then a win for neighbors.”
In addition to housing, the campus plan will also aim to create new campus facilities, including a student life corridor with restaurants and study spaces for students, which will run from the Leavey Center to Village C West, new academic spaces, an updated Yates Field House and recreation fields. The plan will also continue to upgrade the bus turnaround by McDonough Arena, seek to minimize the impact of buses travelling through neighborhood streets and enhance pedestrian walkways.
Khan said GUSA will co-sponsor a public information session with university and neighborhood leaders to share the plan’s framework with students and community members in early June. The university will also announce a period for the public to comment on the plan and submit ideas or concerns, which could be incorporated into the draft in June.
Khan emphasized that the plan in its current stage is not final.
“Right now, nothing is final. We have a framework for agreement and the next step is to show what we have been discussing to the various constituencies, to the students, to the neighbors. We want to share what the GCP has been discussing,” Khan said. “After that, once we have public comment, we can go into the finalizing stage where GUSA will be there to answer any and all questions.”
Clausen said renovations are expected to be a part of the final agreement.
“Housing renovations have been a priority for students during the Campus Planning process. An agreement is starting to take shape as the process nears its conclusion, and I am happy to report that renovations are looking like a main priority in the agreement,” Clausen wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communications Stacy Kerr said the administration is working to prioritize renovations.
“The university also agrees that doing renovations is an important priority,” Kerr said. “Renovating on-campus housing is consistent with what students have been telling us that they want to live on campus, but they want to live on campus not because of a physical location but they want it to be attractive, because they want good housing.”
The summer housing study authorized by the university will highlight the campus locations in need of most renovations, according to Khan. Administrators and students will take university contractors from architecture firm Ayers Saint-Gross and subconsultant Brailsford & Dunlavey on tours of campus to survey dorms, who will then provide feedback on how to maximize campus space and improve student life.
According to Khan, junior and senior housing are in greatest need of attention, particularly Henle Village, Village A and Alumni Square.
Khan said the study is important to show the flaws of the last campus plan, which prioritized new construction over renovations of existing student housing.
“Because of the last campus plan, to meet that bed requirement, we focused so much on building new dorms that all that money, hundreds of millions of dollars, was spent to build new beds and dorms,” Khan said. “That was money that should have been spent on ongoing renovations that need to occur that just didn’t because the university’s focus was on building new beds and maintaining existing ones.”
Kerr said renovations are part of the master planning goal to create more vibrant student life on campus.
“If we’re renovating housing and prioritizing junior and senior housing, that is consistent with what we’ve been saying about creating these corridors for student life and making it attractive to live and study on campus,” Kerr said.
Vice President for Government Relations and Community Engagement Chris Murphy (GRD ’98) said the GCP has given student leaders an opportunity to advocate for student concerns in drafting the new plan.
“Working through the Georgetown Community Partnership, students have worked closely with university administrators and neighborhood leaders to develop a thoughtful framework for the next campus plan. The process has helped us identify our shared interests and a promising way to move forward together,” Murphy wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Student leadership — whether serving on the GCP, as ANC Commissioners, or participating in regular meetings with senior university leaders — has been critical to getting us to where we are today.”
Kerr said the final plan would show the success of the GCP model.
“The elements of this campus plan are the result of consensus-based planning. It’s a unique model that no one else in the country is doing,” Kerr said. “It’s really been about advocating and finding alignments about where the university and the neighborhood and the students all share priorities.”