Bar Raised for Student Input
Published: Friday, August 30, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 02:08
Wednesday night’s forum on the Northeast Triangle Residence Hall demonstrated the university’s willingness — perhaps grudgingly — to include students and alumni in major campus planning. But looking beyond these 225 beds, architects and administrators should maintain this level of transparency and collaboration in implementing further components of the 2010 Campus Plan agreement.
After critical student and alumni reactions to the dormitory design plans in July, architects at Sasaki Associates got to work, aggregating a "brown paper report" of community input. Six weeks later, the new proposal includes some of the modifications requested: exterior materials similar to those of the beloved White-Gravenor and Copley halls, downsizing an unpopular cantilever and appeasing some demand for sustainability. Notably, the dorm’s capacity dropped from 250 to 225 beds to accommodate these community needs, indicating an interest in making this mandated living space one also desirable for students.
While this is encouraging, it is only the first step of what is sure to be an arduous process toward compliance to the campus plan agreement. The university must add 385 beds to campus by fall 2015 and house 90 percent of undergraduates on university property by 2025. With these relatively imminent deadlines, the university could be forced to explore nonconventional measures that could include options outside the university and its immediate surroundings. Georgetown must also find new ways to entice upperclassmen back to on-campus housing.
Those changes will inevitably require compromise and tough decisions, and the Georgetown community ought to be included in that process. If the outreach done for the Northeast Triangle turns out to be an aberration in campus plan execution, the outcome may be hard for those invested in Georgetown’s future to stomach.