Georgetown University officials on Thursday announced that they would build additional on-campus student housing, provide more late-night food options and require students to take etiquette classes that would explain how to be a good neighbor.
The plan, which needs to be approved by the District’s zoning commission, comes after years of complaints from residents sick of loud, drunken parties in the heart of one of the city’s most upscale neighborhoods.
University President John DeGioia said that over time, the university has realized the often adverse impact it has had on the surrounding community. The new agreement, he said, aligns the interests of the university and neighborhood, providing “the opportunity to be good neighbors and contributing members of our city.”
“We have come to realize Georgetown is a university and a neighborhood,” DeGioia said.
The Georgetown University Campus Plan calls for the university to move 65 students on campus from the “Magis Row” townhouses on 36th Street by fall 2013. The townhouses would be made into faculty and staff housing and possibly administrative offices.
In addition, the campus’ Leavey Center Hotel would be converted into undergraduate housing for 450 students by fall 2015. The university aims to have 90 percent of its students living on campus by 2025.
The university also plans to improve the on-campus social scene next school year by bringing food trucks to campus during late-night hours. It also hopes to complete the New South Student Center — which would have a pub — in the next two years.
To help alleviate parking problems, the university said it would promote the use of satellite parking, car-sharing services and expand the use of Capital Bikeshare on campus.
Students living off campus would have to complete a seminar that would focus on “appropriate conduct in the off-campus community.”
In the long term, the university said it would be looking for 100 acres in the Washington area on which it could locate some graduate programs.
The university’s initial 10-year plan submitted to the zoning commission last year had focused on new buildings, renovating old ones and even increasing its graduate and professional student population by 40 percent.
But surrounding neighborhood associations quickly mobilized to block the university’s plan, saying that not enough was being done to provide more on-campus housing and fearing additional noise, parties and trouble.
After negotiating with the university and city, the neighborhood associations now say they are pleased.
“It’s now going to be more of a privilege than a right to live off campus, and hopefully that will get more responsible citizens living next to us,” said Jennifer Altemus, the president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown.
“The plan really does address immediate short-term issues with a more welcoming residential community atmosphere, clearer rules about acceptable behavior off campus and better parking arrangements . . . a lot of things that will make a difference,” said Ron Lewis, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E commissioner. “When a great community and a fine university come together, this is how it should work.”