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Campus Plan Agreement Moves More Students On-Campus, Signals Georgetown's Desire for a Substantial Satellite Campus

The Campus Plan agreement is for a 7-year plan, followed by a 20-year plan created with full community input

Georgetown University will answer neighbor complaints by moving many undergraduate students out of off-campus housing and into on-campus rooms, a short-term solution proposed in Advisory Neighborhood Commission documents.

GU also will begin the search for a large satellite campus to allow growth in the long-term, the documents say.

The proposals are part of a 10-year campus plan that follows years of discussions between community leaders and university officials. The sides also agreed to create the Georgetown Community Partnership to ensure short-term plans are effective and to develop a 20-year plan for GU.

Near Term Commitments

In the short term Georgetown proposes to add 450 beds on campus by fall 2015. Among those, 65 will be moved from the “Magis Row” townhouses on 36th Street NW an onto campus by fall 2013. Magis Row could then transition into staff housing or administrative offices.

The university counts Magis Row housing as on-campus housing, but neighbors insist it should be counted as off campus because it is outside the main gates.

Undergraduate enrollment will remain fixed at 6,675, but GU will have room to expand graduate enrollment, a key goal for the university during the campus plan proceedings.

In the agreement, Georgetown promises to discourage off-campus students from bringing a car to school and will prohibit undergraduates "from bringing cars to campus or parking their cars on the street in Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall" with a few exceptions, according to the ANC document.

Long Term Goals

Details of the agreement include long-term goals that extend well-beyond the 2017 cut-off, providing community leaders with a certain peace of mind that future negotiations may not be nearly as fractious as the past year and a half have been.

Those goals include several notable elements:

  • a new satellite campus of up to 100 acres located elsewhere;
  • at least 90% of undergraduates living on campus by Fall 2025 (an additional 244 beds);
  • cooperating in developing and implementing a 20-year campus plan following on the success of the 2011-2017 plan.

Georgetown Community Partnership

The "new collegial partnership" described in Zoning Commission filings will serve as the primary mechanism for discussion and mediate between the community and the University. 

According to the University Fact Sheet the GCP will:

  • Be co-chaired by University senior leadership and a designee of ANC 2E
  • Include a steering committee of representatives from neighborhoods and Georgetown
  • Use a committee structure to address key issues to find mutual solutions
  • Provide Opportunity for broad community and university participation

"The partnership will be the framework for all of our future dialogues," said University President John DeGioia during a press conference Wednesday.

A New Vision

Beyond the details of enrollment and where students will live, the plan sets out a new approach for the university as it looks to its future.

The main campus will become a "social hub" for students. GU hopes to create a vibrant on-campus environment with adjusted social policies for on and off
campus parties (i.e. making it easier to party on campus so students are less likely to party in the neighborhood). Other elements of this new social hub campus include the New South Student Center and more late night eating options like food trucks, according to a fact sheet provided by the University.

"Any development on the Main Campus shall be consistent with the University’s goal of developing an integrated living and learning campus and the community’s goal of as rapid a transition as possible toward a more residential undergraduate on-campus environment," according to a highlights document posted on the ANC website.

Stacy Kerr, a spokesperson for the university, said GU hopes the seven- and 20-year plan proposal will allow for "creative thinking" when it comes to housing and expansion.

"Creative" could even include allowing a private developer to create a mixed-use development with housing and retail on the main campus. However it plays out, the sentiment is that Georgetown wants to make the main campus more vibrant and more desirable for its students.

The bigger news for those beyond the immediate community is that Georgetown is in the market for more space. A lot more space.

Georgetown, including the MedStar hospital, occupies just over 100 acres. In the campus plan agreement documents Georgetown sets the goal of identifying and developing its "next 100 acres."

Whether it is a downtown campus, a space near the new St. Elizabeths campus, another large swath of land in the District, or even a the MedStar campus depending on what the hospital chooses to do to modernize its facilities, the University recognizes the need for more space.

Georgetown's ANC 2E wil host a special public meeting to consider the proposed revisions to the pending Georgetown University Campus Plan Thursday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. at Georgetown Visitation School (35th Street and Volta Place, NW).

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