The newly constructed Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Residence Hall – formerly known as the Northeast Triangle Residence Hall – began hosting its first residents last week.
Completing construction on the residence hall is one of several projects the Office of Planning and Facilities Management has undertaken this summer, including significant infrastructure renovations of Alumni Square and a housing survey conducted by contractors from architecture firm Ayers Saint-Gross and subconsultant Brailsford & Dunlavey.
Additionally, construction on the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletic Center was completed this summer following a two-year construction project. The new athletic facility provides roughly 144,000 square feet adjacent to the McDonough Gymnasium, which varsity athletes have been using throughout the summer.
The center houses new practice courts, locker rooms, team meeting rooms, lounge areas and coaches’ offices for men’s and women’s basketball, in addition to new weight training and sports medicine rooms. The $62 million building was funded through philanthropic donations.
According to Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey, Alumni Square residences now all have new hot water heaters and air conditioning units, in addition to new roofs.
“Alumni Square is really an infrastructure project,” Morey said. “Students won’t notice any difference when they walk into the apartments, but they will notice the difference when they live in the apartments.”
Morey said the repairs were necessary because of leaking heaters that could flood rooms in lower levels of the residence halls. The new heaters are more efficient and environmentally sustainable.
“They were old. Those things rot out and they leak,” Morey said. “We had several instances of hot water heaters leaking and, as the water heats, it continues to run and it caused problems in floors below.”
Morey said the project is the first step in the university’s fulfilling the housing commitment it formed with the Georgetown University Student Association as a part of 2017-37 Campus Plan negotiations this summer.
The commitment states that the university will prioritize renovations to existing student housing over construction of new housing to meet the 2010 Campus Plan’s requirement to house 90 percent of students on campus.
“The Alumni Square renovation starts that process. So we’re being consistent with what we’re saying by renovating and putting investments into Alumni Square to make sure that we can provide the proper service to those buildings. It’s an investment in an existing student housing unit that we need to be doing more of,” Morey said. “That is the point.”
The Office of Planning and Facilities Management is also awaiting results from the completed housing survey conducted by Ayers Saint-Gross, which is expected to provide a timeline and suggestions for future renovation and construction on campus.
Ayers Saint-Gross has previously conducted similar surveys for other university campuses, including the George Washington University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Prior to conducting the study, Ayers Saint-Gross, university administrators and GUSA organized a steering committee to work on the final report. Jonice Jackson (COL ’18), former GUSA secretary of residential living, Connor Maytnier (COL ’18) and GUSA Residential Life Policy Team Co-Chair Christopher Holshouser (MSB ’18) sit on the committee.
GUSA Chief of Staff Ari Goldstein (COL ’18) said the student representatives are pushing for a timeline that specifies the process for renovations.
“What we have asked of the administration is that at the conclusion of the housing study, they engage with us about putting together a very specific timeline for renovations. It’s an idea that we saw originally at GWU and other schools where they had a cyclical timeline to complete renovations,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein said he hopes a timeline will bind the university to its housing commitment to avoid situations like Henle Village’s deferred maintenance, which caused some students to lose hot water in their apartments last winter. The Office of Residential Living indefinitely delayed renovations of Henle Village in November 2014 due to a lack of resources.
“The point is that if you commit down the road, then you don’t end up with situations like we had with Henle where a planned renovation is postponed and postponed and postponed because the money isn’t there,” Goldstein said. “We said the housing study is about renovating and we want a timeline that lays out when the necessary renovations on campus are going to take place.”
The survey will enable the university to better understand student needs in addition to crafting a timeline for renovations, according to Maytnier.
“The survey engaged students on everything from price and value, to unit typology, to overall housing satisfaction,” Maytnier wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Morey said he expects Henle renovations will be the university’s next project, followed by additional work in Alumni Square and Village A.
“Alumni Square needs more aesthetic renovations of paint, carpet, lighting, kitchens and I think you will see Village A be in that same category. These are things we know. The purpose of the survey was to kind of balance and put some hardcore data behind what we think is true,” Morey said.
The survey results will also provide a roadmap for future master planning ideas, including the proposed Student Life Corridor, which would run north to south along Tondorf Road and the Leavey Center and replace the facilities offices under Harbin Hall along the ground floor.
“Student collaboration space is really the focus of the student life corridor,” Morey said. “The idea is that eventually I would like to be able to relocate my facilities team and then all that becomes student space.”
Facilities also conducted sewer maintenance in Southwest Quad and Darnall Hall to repair damage to sewer lines, while the pathway between Reiss Hall and Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Hall has opened.
Morey said students played a major role in construction and renovation planning.
“Over the past year, we’ve been working with students on the campus plan and the idea there is that we want to invest in the existing infrastructure. That was a student initiative and it aligned with what we wanted to do in investing in our existing infrastructure versus building new housing,” Morey said. “Students were significantly involved in all that strategy and development and as far as we know are supportive of the campus plan.”