Sneak peek of the Healey Family Student Center

September 4, 2014

Katherine Landau

The Healey Family Student Center will open Friday at noon—and the Voice got a sneak peak of the long-awaited space. Director of the Center for Student Engagement Erika Cohen-Derr and HFSC Director Patrick Ledesma led the tour and offered insight into what students should expect from the new multi-use facility.

Despite the visible construction still taking place outside, Cohen-Derr assures that the center will still open on time, aside from a few “finishing pieces.”

The outdoor terrace will still be under construction, as will The Hilltoss and pub, both scheduled to open later this semester. However, The Hilltoss and Bon Appetit Management Company, the pub’s vendor, plan to be involved in opening day festivities.

Although the exterior is still under construction, part of the terrace that overlooks the Potomac River will be used by the Georgetown University Grilling Society on opening day.

“[Tomorrow] we will have speeches from President DeGioia and Vice President [for Student Affairs Todd] Olsen,” said Ledesma. “Students will also be involved in performances. [An] a capella group will be presenting on the main stage. We will also have free food from The Hilltoss and Bon Appetite and GUGS.”

In addition to these activities, the center will also offer a casino night, movies, a video game room, a chocolate fountain, and DJing from WGTB on Friday night starting at 9 p.m.

Finishing touches include an inscription of the University fight song on the wall in the open student space and a carving of the alma mater on the Saxa Wall, an aesthetic element in the center meant to provide a modern twist on traditional Georgetown architecture.

“We wanted to evoke the central features of campus, like the the gothic stone and the walls along Copley lawn, but also put a modern spin on it,” said Cohen-Derr. “The furniture is transitional modern, and the living green wall is also a unique feature of the Saxa Wall.”

The HFSC takes advantage of natural lighting with an open skylight and large windows. The main area of the center includes 12 study alcoves. A cylindrical hearth, prominently featured in the middle of the space, will be lit for the center’s opening. Cohen-Derr and Ledesma explained that these features were added in an effort to be more environmentally friendly and also make the space more welcoming.

Moving down the hallway, students will find a number of conference rooms and soundproof performing arts practice areas. Two dance studios are located upstairs, as well as study areas filled with power outlets and energy-saving technology for students. Next to the film studies classrooms, students will be able to display their digital art as well as view university announcements.

“One of those progressive, new things we’re trying to do with technology is to be self-sufficient within the space, so that we can provide whatever students need—meeting rooms, social rooms, everything else downstairs,” said Ledesma. “We’ll have those resources and we’ll have student employees here.”

Both Ledesma and Cohen-Derr emphasized the importance of offering a convenient, well-equipped study space for students.

“There’s plenty of power, which is a big thing,” said Ledesma. “So there’s lots of power—tables where you can plug in much easier, so it’s not creating hazards, like in Sellinger where it’s hard to get around when all the laptops are in use.” In terms of accessibility, the center will include a number of elevators, as well as a ramp leading from Leo’s.

Although the center will not be open at all times, Ledesma ensured that the center’s hours would be flexible for students. After it is unveiled, the HFSC will be open from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday.


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