In 1987 construction costs for the new Leavey Student Center ran millions of dollars over budget, prompting the university to take out additional bonds and to re-examine the terms of its partnership with lead contractor Marriot Corporation.

Georgetown budgeted over $45 million for the Leavey Center’s second phase of construction, but higher than expected construction costs resulted in an overrun of $3.5 million, according to a Feb.13, 1987, story in THE HOYA.

“There is an overrun . we will be able to finance it with additional tax-exempt bonds,” John J. DeGioia, then Dean of Student Affairs, said. “Funds to pay off the additional bonds will be drawn from the various retail and service operations in the Leavey Center.”

To offset the $3.5 million budget shortfall, university officials looked to revenue earned from the Marriott-run operations. They hoped to use their clout as Marriott’s largest educational client to amend the existing contract, getting the hotel chain to pay off the additional bonds taken out to reduce the Leavey Center debt.

“It should be pointed out that with this center, Georgetown will become the largest contract client of arriott’s Educational Food Services Division . the [Leavey] Center is to be a showcase for this division and thus a keystone to their future success in this area of operations. Favorable terms can be expected accordingly,” a university report on the Leavey Center said.

The budget shortfall did not affect construction of the second phase, which included erecting the Center’s steel infrastructure and completion of the building itself. The first construction phase was the creation of the parking and energy podium.

Completed in fall 1988, the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center was designed to house student organization offices and businesses while serving as a central gathering point for all Georgetown students. The Marriott Corporation also operates 146 guest rooms and several conference facilities in the Leavey Center.

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