Georgetown transforming Healy Hall ground floor into student hub

The ground level of Healy Hall, a National Historic Landmark on Georgetown University’s main campus dating back to 1879, will be redesigned and renovated to support student life, according to a university announcement

Approximately 2,300 square feet of the transformed ground floor (also known as Healy basement) will be dedicated to the Georgetown Scholars Program (GSP), which was previously located in Healy until it was temporarily relocated in 2021.

The renovation will triple the amount of space dedicated to GSP, which provides financial assistance and robust wraparound services for hundreds of low-income and first-generation students each year—including access to mental health counseling, a course co-created by a Pulitzer Prize-winning professor on navigating higher education’s “hidden curriculum,” peer and alumni mentors, tutoring, career development events, and a close-knit community.

The ground floor—which spans more than 7,000 square feet—also will be the site for the new Catholic Student Life Center, a student health and wellness area, and a student lounge. Construction is expected to begin spring 2023.

“We’re excited to offer students a fresh, new space on campus that supports their academic success, faith, and well-being,” Jeanne Lord, interim vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said in the announcement. “We’re grateful that students are returning to this historic space on our campus that has served many different student needs over the years.”

A history of enhancing student life

The construction project will return Healy’s ground floor to its original use as a center for student life. In the century after Healy was built, the space housed an indoor track; a bowling alley; a laboratory; an air-raid shelter; and the University Center, a multi-use space consisting of a movie theater, art gallery, food co-op, record store, student-run pub, and student offices.

When many of those services moved to the Leavey Center in 1988, Healy’s ground floor transitioned to financial aid and administrative offices. Those will soon move to the ground floor of White Gravenor, which also will be remodeled into a hub for on-campus student services. Combined, the Healy Hall and White Gravenor renovations “reflect our continued commitment to enrich students’ overall experience at Georgetown,” says Georgetown Provost Robert M. Groves.

An expanded home for GSP

Spanning nearly one-third of the transformed Healy floor, GSP’s space will house workstations, a lounge, and a meeting area for GSP scholars. It will also provide phone booths for private calls, a kitchen and storage space, and private offices for GSP staff. “I think it’s going to be a milestone because we’re creating that space for years to come. Not just for ourselves, but for the next generation, so they can feel what GSP is,” says Sofia Chen Ma (B’23), president of GSP’s student board.

Chen Ma recalls that she used to visit GSP’s former Healy Hall office daily during her first year. “It wasn’t just an office,” she says. “It was somewhere where I was comfortable. I felt like I was being heard…I could always go in and feel home.”

Related: Georgetown Scholars Program nears $20M goal to permanently fund emergency aid for first-gen and low-income students >

GSP students and staff will have access to other amenities coming to the ground floor of Healy Hall, including an 800-square foot multipurpose room for health and wellness programming, a mindfulness and reflection room, and other smaller spaces to support private and small-group conversations. The ground floor will also be home to a 1,480-square foot lounge open to all students, and a dedicated center for Catholic ministry at Georgetown.

Topics in this story

Next Up

Biden cancels up to $20,000 in student loan debt for millions of borrowers 

President Biden announced the cancellation of up to $10,000 in student debt for borrowers making less than $125,000, and up to $20,000 for those who received Pell Grants.