As Georgetown University looks for space to house expanding programs and to make up for aging buildings, developers of the future Capitol Crossing are hoping their new project could become "Georgetown East Campus," according to the Washington Post.
Capitol Crossing will sit over the entrance to I-395 just south of Massachusetts Avenue in Northwest. The prime location was the source of consternation during recent redistricting efforts as Ward 2's Jack Evans pushed to have the site included in his ward and Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells said it belonged in his. Evans won out.
Throughout the Georgetown University campus plan process, neighbors have expressed their growing frustration with the increasing impact of students in the community. Their demand has been for Georgetown to house all undergraduates on campus or to find housing outside the 20007 Zip code.
The University has consistently said that there is not enough room on campus to house all those students and that students have the right to live off campus.
A satellite campus could free up space on the existing Georgetown property to ease the housing crush.
Executives from developer Property Group Partners (formerly Louis Dreyfus Property Group) are in discussions with Georgetown University officials about locating multiple university facilities at the new project — including a possible relocation of Georgetown’s medical school from the university’s main campus.
In addition to the undergraduate and graduate liberal arts, business and foreign service programs, Georgetown's main campus is home to both a medical school and Georgetown University Hospital, which is operated by MedStar Health. The university is already in discussions with MedStar about upgrading the hospital facilities, though how that will happen is still not public.
At a meeting in 2011 about the Georgetown University campus plan, Regina Knox Woods, the vice president of government affairs for MedStar Health, said the company and the university were working to identify locations for a new facility.
"If there is a location on campus where a hospital could fit, I don’t understand why that can’t be dorms," Jennifer Altemus, president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, remarked at the time.
Robert Braunohler, Property Group Partners regional vice president, told the Post that the downtown site in proximity to Georgetown's law school campus makes Capitol Crossing a good fit for other university-related properties.
“We think this is a great site for a medical school or hospital facility,” Braunohler told the Post.
But Georgetown spokesperson Stacy Kerr hedged her bets, telling the Post that Capitol Crossing was "one of many sites" throughout the region the school was looking at for a variety of uses.
At last year's public meeting on the campus plan, Commissioner Tom Birch said about such a situation, "To hang our hopes on the hospital being the solution is a sorry picture."
What do you think? Would moving the hospital downtown help with the housing problems in Georgetown? Would you miss having a hospital so close? Speak Out in the comments.