Georgetown University formally filed a zoning application Sept. 27 to construct a new dorm building on H Street near Union Station and the Georgetown University Law Center.
This 11-story building will house both undergraduate and graduate students and will include 476 beds as well as space for amenities, retail and other student-centered programming, according to the university’s application with the D.C. Office of Zoning. Gonzaga College High School, an all-boys Jesuit high school in Washington, D.C., is leasing the 33,000 square-foot property to Georgetown, according to Washington Business Journal.
The currently vacant lot is located in the NoMa Business Improvement District, an area that has experienced rapid growth and gentrification in recent years.
Georgetown needs a new dorm to respond to a growing need for student housing, according to Geoff Chatas (COL ’85), senior vice president and chief operations officer for the university.
“We continue to see an increased demand for housing to serve both undergraduate and graduate students and will be engaging with students to ensure the building meets their needs,” Chatas wrote.
Georgetown’s enrollment increased from 17,858 total undergraduate and graduate students in fall 2014 to 19,204 students in fall 2018, including 1,482 more graduate students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Undergraduate students are required to live in on-campus or university-operated housing for at least three years, and about 77% of all Georgetown undergraduate students currently do, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The location of the new dorm will also provide many benefits to students given its close proximity to the Law Center and Union Station, according to Chatas.
“The property is in close proximity to the U.S. Capitol, our Law Center, School of Continuing Studies and 500 First Street, NW and provides a strategic opportunity for Georgetown,” Chatas wrote.
The new dorm will feature many indoor and outdoor amenities, according to university spokesperson Meghan Dubyak.
“Common space and a full-size kitchen will be located on each floor,” Dubyak wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Outside there will be a large central courtyard with a game area, pergola structures, gas grills and an outdoor fireplace, a secondary courtyard, a ping-pong table, dining/study areas, an outdoor classroom and a bioretention garden.”
Georgetown is also developing a number of new academic programs at its downtown Capitol campus, an expansion of the Law Center that will benefit and be accessible to the new dorm’s residents, according to the university’s application with the DCOZ. The Law Center, the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Medical Center would all receive new spaces and programs.
In addition to these academic programs, there will also be a new undergraduate program called the “Capitol Applied Learning Lab,” which will integrate experiential learning through internships and mentorship opportunities into the undergraduate experience by capitalizing on Georgetown’s location in the nation’s capital.
Despite the draws of the new location, some students doubt how beneficial the new dorm will be to undergraduates, according to Julianne Bruggemann (NHS ’23).
“It’s easier for me to be by main campus right now,” Bruggemann said. “Right now, and even in the next year or so, this location wouldn’t benefit me as an undergrad. It helps a lot for people who have internships and need to get around the city.”
Other students prefer the communal feel of main campus to the opportunity to live downtown, according to Reagan Leibovitz (COL ’22).
“I would miss the sense of community being on a small, enclosed campus has,” Leibovitz said. “I do love running into my friends around at Leo’s or on my way to class.”
Beyond its specifications to increase options for student housing, measures will also be taken to ensure the building is sustainable, according to Dubyak.
“Other environmentally conscious features include solar panels on the roof – which also includes a partial green area – and a ‘green screen’ comprising vines on the outdoor walls,” Dubyak wrote.
Alongside the new dorm construction, the university will also renovate dorms on its main campus in the near future, especially the freshman dorm Village C West, Dubyak said.
“Village C, a more than 650-room residence hall built in 1987, will receive major renovations over the next two summers, including exterior waterproofing, improvements to the HVAC and interior renovations,” Dubyak wrote.
This article was corrected Oct. 9 to include the correct title for Chatas and to correct the spelling of Bruggemann’s name.