University contractors will conduct a study over the next few months to determine the timeframe, price and priorities for immediate and long-term housing renovations.
Organized in conjunction with the Georgetown University Student Association, administrators and students will take representatives of architecture firm Ayers Saint-Gross and subconsultant Brailsford & Dunlavey, on tours of campus to survey dorms and receive feedback on how to maximize campus space and improve student life.
The university will use results from the study to decide how to implement renovations, while minimizing residence hall disruptions and maintaining bed capacity.
The study will consist of a data collection and programming phase expected for completion by mid-summer, and a data analysis phase to conclude in the fall.
GUSA President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) said the study is an effort to define what the university needs to do to provide better housing. During negotiations for the 2018 campus plan, the first draft of which will be released by July 1, GUSA has advocated for the university to focus on deferred maintenance at the university.
“Our biggest priority right now in the context of the campus plan is housing renovations. The facilities that we have right now are abysmal and the university understands that,” Khan said. “They realize that this needs to be a priority. The housing study is important because we need an actual firm timeline and priority list in terms of what needs to be renovates first, second, third.”
According to Khan, determining housing renovations is an important part of negotiations for the campus plan.
Deputy Chief of Staff for Master Planning and Community Engagement Ari Goldstein (COL ’18) said GUSA put forward a list of priorities in the master planning process at the end of last semester, one of which was to complete ongoing renovations.
“I imagine the administration would be interested in pursuing the housing study and they received a lot of pressure from students to start being serious about renovations,” Goldstein said.
University representatives will also provide the consultants with demographics and financial data.
The Office of Residential Living and the Office of Design and Construction will take part in meetings and review documents, plans and cost estimates.
After the tours, contractors will meet with the Student Housing Working Committee and GUSA.
Consultants will then meet with focus groups of freshmen, upperclassmen, and seniors living on and off campus and residential advisors to learn about student life in particular residence halls, housing satisfaction levels, impressions of Georgetown housing options as opposed to options of other schools and why certain resident halls are valued more than others.
According to Vice President of Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey, the university recently completed a facilities condition assessment, which will inform future decisions regarding housing management.
Morey said the contractors understand Georgetown’s mission and campus structure. Brailsford & Dunlavey previously worked on renovations for Ryan and Freedom Halls.
“We are confident in their expertise and are excited to have them on the team to support the development of our housing strategies,” Morey wrote in an email to The Hoya.
GUSA Residential Living Policy Team Chair Christopher Holshouser (MSB ’18), a student representative on the working group who will work on the study during the summer, said the study would allow for more effective decision-making for both short-term and long-term renovations.
“This is going to be something that’s immediate short-term action that we can look at to see what we can fix really quickly and then longer term, more master planning type of thinking of what we can do in the next 20 to 25 years in terms of improving student life,” Holshouser said.
However, Goldstein said the length of the study is problematic because the campus plan will be signed prior to the release of study results.
“I am a little disappointed about how long it is going to take. The reality is that we’re probably going to sign a campus plan before the housing results, at which point we’ll be able to get serious about what the renovations will look like, which might present problems because we might be committing to potential new housing before we even know what renovations are going to look like,” Goldstein said.
Holshouser said GUSA will continue to play a large role in discussions regarding campus renovations to ensure that student opinion remains the main driving factor for these decisions.
“A lot of times the administration will come in with a preconceived notion that is based in good faith but not actually reflective of what students are feeling, so GUSA’s role is to make sure that the students’ needs are really being taken into consideration,” Holshouser said.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.