Zoning Commission Votes To Approve ATF Proposal
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 21:05
The university’s revised plan for the Athletic Training Facility was unanimously approved by the D.C. Zoning Commission last night, more than five years after the initial plans for the building were approved.
The architectural plan was met with concern by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the Old Georgetown Board, both of which are responsible for judging the structural aesthetics and design quality of construction in Georgetown.
The modified plan was developed with the aid of USCFA and OGB and is 40,000 square feet smaller than the original architectural scheme presented to both organizations last fall. The current design has a stacked two- and four-story style that leaves room on the lower section of the building for a green roof.
According to architect William Gridley, the university is aiming for a LEED gold certification and also seeks to create a water collection system on the roof of the taller portion of the ATF.
At the hearing, university officials stressed the need for Georgetown to upgrade its athletic facilities to attract prospective student athletes.
“This is not a want or a luxury. This is a necessity,” Athletic Director Lee Reed said at the hearing. “It is about delivering on a promise to all students and about investing in athletics for years to come.”
Men’s basketball Head Coach John Thompson III also testified that the quality of the university’s current facilities does not reflect the competitiveness of Georgetown’s athletics.
“We traditionally and currently have been at the top of the Big East,” Thompson said. “But our facilities are at the bottom.”
The commission was receptive to the university’s concerns.
“Something has to be done,” Zoning Commission Chairman Anthony Hood said. “We have to get into the 21st century at some point.”
Despite concerns about the displacement of the tennis courts beside McDonough Arena, Commissioner Peter May asked that the university be given flexibility to modify its plan so it would not have to attend another zoning hearing.
Although the university will continue to consult with USCFA and OGB to modify the architectural design, the approval of the Zoning Commission represents a milestone in the plans for the ATF.
“We’re very appreciative to have their support,” university spokeswoman Stacy Kerr said. “Our student athletes spoke very clearly for the need for facilities. We are excited to have the ability to move forward with this project.”
Though the Old Georgetown Board initially approved designs for the facility in 2006, construction plans ground to a halt in 2008 due to the economic downturn. The plans had to be reconsidered because the time period initially set for construction had expired when the university resumed its major development projects in 2009.