Construction Not Just for IAC
Published: Friday, September 13, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 13, 2013 01:09
Don’t get me wrong: I love Georgetown basketball. But I am disappointed when basketball feels like Georgetown’s highest priority.
Under University President John J. DeGioia, Georgetown has seen its largest expansion and renovation of facilities in recent history, with even more money to come from the $1.5 billion capital campaign, For Generations to Come. We all know that financial capital is limited, so we must choose which buildings we want to build carefully, and we need to consider why we are building them. In 2009, KMW Architecture drafted plans to remodel Lauinger Library. These plans included a full renovation of the existing building in addition to a 168,000-sq. ft. addition. I am shocked, however, that instead of the much-needed Lauinger Library renovation, we now have chosen to build the Intercollegiate Athletic Center. We don’t need a new basketball training facility; we need a new library.
“It’s more like a prison than a library,” some say. “What did Joseph Mark Lauinger do to offend us?” others often ask. “Lau? I would never study in Lau.” And for good reason. The library is in a state of disrepair. The shelves are falling apart. The brass doorknobs are polished clean from 40 years of use. The desks have been scratched and vandalized and polluted with gum. The book stacks are covered in tarps to prevent water damage from the leaky pipes above. Lauinger is a textbook definition of a building that is overdue for a renovation.
That said, we should remember Lau’s potential as a center point on campus. In all its dilapidated glory, the second floor still manages to fill up every weeknight, bustling with chemistry and history majors; freshmen and Ph.D. candidates; singers and athletes. Because Lauinger is the only large library on campus, it is a perfect common denominator for every member of the Georgetown campus. We often take it for granted that Lau is one of the only places on campus where every student has reason to go on a regular basis. Despite its unifying premise, students tend to avoid Lau because it is literally falling apart around us as we study.
For juxtaposition, consider some facts about what IAC will do for the student body. First, IAC is not a new stadium. According to current plans, we will still be trekking to Chinatown to see the men compete, and we will still use the McDonough Arena to watch the women compete. Second, IAC has no public access. Unless you play a Division I varsity sport, the state-of-the art training facilities, exercise facilities, basketball courts, sports medicine center, study lounges, etc. that Georgetown included in the plans will be completely unavailable for your use. Third, it’s expensive. In addition to the $60 million price tag, IAC takes up valuable on-campus land. On principle, however, it blatantly separates the university into two unequal categories: Division I athletes first, everyone else second. Plain and simple, the facility takes rational Georgetown priorities and turns them upside-down.
The funds raised by the capital campaign are impressive, but limited. We need to make sure that we make the most of this opportunity to expand our campus. Basketball is already a point of community for this campus, but we need to remember that we are a school before we are a sports team. And as a school, we should ensure that we can be proud of the building representative of our academic life — the building which should bring students together from all years, schools, majors and backgrounds: the library.
David Chardack is a sophomore in the College. He is copy chief for The Hoya.