Residents were allowed to return to the New South dormitory July 9, following evacuation from the building earlier in the week because of structural concerns found during ongoing renovations.
Around 40 residents were able to move back into the building after 5 p.m. Friday after additional review found concerns were limited to vacant spaces of the building and did not jeopardize the structural integrity of the building, according to a university email to New South residents obtained by The Hoya.
The move comes after students were required to evacuate the building the evening of July 6, after initial concerns were discovered during the renovation process. While the evacuation was sudden, the building was not in any imminent danger, according to a university spokesperson.
“We did this out of an abundance of caution after we engaged a structural engineer as part of the renovation process to the lower level of the building. Georgetown University has further engaged structural engineers who are conducting additional analysis of the building now to ensure the safety of the building,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Affected students were relocated to the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center and given access to Leo J. O’Donovan Dining Hall, the only dining hall on campus, as all affected residents relied on New South facilities to cook meals, according to the spokesperson.
Despite residents returning to the building, however, engineers discovered concerns with select unoccupied offices in the basement of the building. As a result, the basement floor will continue to remain vacant while repairs are completed, according to the email.
“The space on the basement floor will continue to be vacant until permanent repairs and renovations are complete,” the email to New South residents reads.
The Healey Family Student Center, a student center adjacent to the ground floor of New South, was also shut down as part of the evacuations. Events and student groups working in the building were also forced to evacuate.
The university relocated all normally scheduled COVID-19 testing from the HFSC to the Georgetown Conference Center ballroom, where students living on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods can undergo COVID-19 testing.
All tests scheduled for Tuesday through Friday at the HFSC were cancelled, according to a message sent to students on the One Medical app, an app used by students to schedule COVID-19 tests and track results.
The Corp, a student-run business that manages multiple storefronts on campus, was informed by the Auxiliary Business Services, a university department that provides Georgetown students with dining and merchandising options, that it would have to close its location in the HFSC, The Hilltoss, for a few weeks, according to an email from Matthew Davis (SFS ’22), CEO of The Corp.
The evacuation and concerns with the safety of New South come after Georgetown has been scrutinized in the past for safety of campus buildings. In 2019, students living in Alumni Square, an apartment-style dormitory, were relocated to the university hotel for the remainder of the year after a structural engineer discovered water damage to the roof of the complex. In 2018, several students reported being sick after discovering mold in various dormitories.
Despite the remaining concerns, Georgetown will work to ensure the safety of students and residents in both New South and the HFSC, according to a university spokesperson.
“We are confident that the building is safe for our students to live, learn and dine in,” the university spokesperson wrote. “Please know that the safety of our community is our top priority.”