With updated design plans and approval from the Old Georgetown Board, the university is set to break ground on the Intercollegiate Athletics Center in the spring of 2014.
The IAC is still going through the required approval process. The school hopes that this authorization will move quickly enough to allow them to begin building the IACtoward the end of the spring tennis season between May and August. The IAC will be built where the courts are currently.
“Last week we got a very good finalized — almost finalized — approval from the OGB,” Associate Director of Athletics for Operations and Facilities Brian McGuire said. “Basically, they said go ahead.”
The university is now working to finish schematic designs. The next step is to develop design drawings, which are expected to take three months. Construction drawings will take another three to four months.
Though the project has been in the works for the past eight years, financial and design issues have kept it from being realized thus far.
“Raising money at this time during this economy, it’s difficult to get the funds in,” McGuire said. “We’ve had a lot of different designs. Originally — and this goes way back — the design was for a much larger building, a much more expensive building.”
Changes to the design are due not only to a budget constraint but also a change in architecture firm midway through the project. Bowie Gridley of Washington, D.C., the lead architecture firm for construction of the IAC, is being assisted by Populous of Kansas City for interior design and programming expertise. HNTB of Kansas City and Hughes Architects of Sterling, Va., were previously involved in the project.
Disagreement with the OGB over design has also slowed down the project.
“We had some issues with OGB in the beginning as well about the mass of the building and the size of the building versus what it looked like,” McGuire said. “It’s interesting, the OGB, one of the first comments they had to us was: ‘It doesn’t look enough like a gym, It looks more like a dormitory.’ So that was a change that we had to do about almost a year ago.”
Though IAC construction will require removal of all the university’s outdoor tennis courts, officials have yet to find a replacement for this loss.
“We’re looking at options on and off site for tennis courts,” university architect Regina Bleck said “It’s more probable that they would be off campus.”
Should construction continue as planned in late spring after the end of the tennis season, the facility could open by the beginning of summer 2016.
While designed for student-athletes, Bleck said the facility will benefit the entire campus by freeing up space in Yates Athletic Center.
“It helps everyone else because it decompresses space within Yates. This facility serves every student-athlete on campus,” Bleck said.
The IAC will mark the first time Georgetown has expanded its athletics facilities since 1951, when McDonough Arena was built on campus to house six sports teams. The athletics department has long been pushing for new varsity facilities.
“This building is sorely needed,” McGuire said. “We need a weight room, we need a sports medicine room that accommodates 750 athletes, we need locker rooms and most importantly we need a training facility for our men’s and women’s basketball teams. That’s the most important part. We’re falling so far behind our competitors right now.”
“This is a game-changer,” McGuire added. “This is going to change the quality of the athletic experience for our athletes, all our athletes. This is the best thing to happen for our athletes since McDonough in 1951.”