Over the course of the past summer, University Services, working with a student committee, planned and oversaw a significant reorganization of Hoya Court in the Leavey Center. Despite the project’s two-month delay to mid-October, University Services and members of the student committee believe the new Hoya Court will be a space where students enjoy eating and gathering.
Construction began earlier this summer, after Yasmin Parveen, the previous owner of the Hoya Court eateries, had his business license revoked for his failure to pay $500,000 in sales taxes. Associate Vice President and Chief Business Officer of University Services Deborah Morey has known for many months that Hoya Court needed a reworking.
“Over the last two years there was a significant reduction in the usage of the venues [in Hoya Court], except for Subway,” Morey said. “It was just past February of last year and we said ‘we just can’t keep going like this.’”
The new Hoya Court will house an Elevation Burger, a Salad Creations, and a “new and improved” Subway. Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Business Services Joelle Wiese explained that the new restaurants were chosen not only because they will provide students with quality food, but because they are committed to working closely with the University and meeting goals such as sustainability and health.
“Elevation Burger serves all grass-fed beef and is a very sustainable company,” Morey said. “They actually grind their meat right on the premises every day and use olive oil for their fries.”
The owner of Elevation Burger is making plans with the University to recycle his restaurants’ leftover oil into fuel for Georgetown’s buses. “Believe it or not, [the owner’s] name is Michael Burger and he loves working with Georgetown,” Morey said. “He said that they are looking at ways to recycle their oil for diesel fuel and our buses are run on diesel fuel.”
University Services announced earlier in August that the new Hoya Court, previously scheduled to open by the start of the fall semester, would not be completed until mid-October. According to Morey, however, the possibility of a delay was taken into account from the start and does not come as a surprise. Morey described the original completion date of late August as an “aggressive” way to encourage speedy work and focus on Hoya Court.
“We said ‘let’s get this done now,’” Morey said. “We’re not going to wait another two years. It’s just really too dated.”
The project was further delayed by the unpredictability of D.C.’s permitting process and the previous owner’s delay in vacating Hoya Court.
Temporary food options have been arranged for Hoya Court, including a temporary subway, an Einstein Bagels kiosk, and a “hot food station,” which Morey described as “like a Boston Market.” Additionally, food trucks will park in lot G, near the medical center, during lunch hours. The food trucks will be removed when Hoya Court’s construction is finished.
Morey explained that working with students and making decisions based on student feedback was a focus from the start. The Food Service Committee and, later, a “summer working group,” both composed of students, met with University Services and architects throughout the construction process.
GUSA Vice President Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14) was heavily involved with the student feedback process and helped the architects arrive at the right design for the inside of Hoya Court.
“From the day that we started back in the spring, auxiliary services has been incredible in terms of hearing our voices,” he said.
Morey and Wiese presented mock images of how the completed Hoya Court will likely look. The design features a blue and grey color scheme, graphics of Georgetown and famous D.C. landmarks, and lines from the Georgetown fight song.
“The architects came back with an initial design and we told them that this isn’t what the students were saying,” Morey said. “The next time they came back, they were right on.”
“This is a model for student engagement,” GUSA President Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) said. “We had a group of students who looked at the reality of a project and figured out how to make the space most effective for the people who are going to be using it.”
After working so much on the new Hoya Court, Ramadan hopes that the space will be liked and utilized by students.
“There’s something to be said about meeting continuously, talking with the architects, and coming into Hoya Court after we’ve seen the designs and seeing the paint go up,” Ramadan said. “I cannot wait for this to be finished.”