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With the University of the District of Columbia, American and Howard Universities’ 10-year campus plans all put to bed, and Georgetown’s to be dispatched shortly, just a few of D.C.’s major academic institutions remain in this cycle of campus plans: Catholic and Gallaudet. The Ward 5 schools have historically had better relations with their surrounding communities than those in Wards 2 and 3, but lack of controversy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention!

Catholic University, which kicked off its planning process last August, hits the Zoning Commission tonight. A few takeaways from the voluminous document:

  • Enrollment is projected to increase from the current level of 7,216 students to 8,035 in 2027, and faculty would increase from 1,909 to 2,130 over the same time period.
  • The University wants to demolish 359,149 square feet worth of unremarkable buildings and and 1,004,800 square feet of new space, including four residence halls, a new athletic facility, and a four-story academic building along Michigan Avenue at 7th Street NE to compliment the Monroe Street Market development
  • The plan proposes to remove 700 surface parking spaces total, clearing most surface parking from the campus core. They will be replaced with two new structured parking garages, for a total increase of 63 spaces to 1,990 on campus.
  • The campus, which is currently a nightmare to navigate by foot and bike, will get a pedestrian circulation overhaul.

As for Gallaudet: They’re just getting started with outreach after going through an internal process and an Urban Land Institute advisory panel, and will hold a series of community workshops over the next few weeks. Hansel Bauman, the University’s planning director, told me a few things:

  • They expect to grow their student body, currently at 1,617 total, by about two percent per year.
  • They’ll build another 150 beds for students somewhere on campus.
  • They’ve got 100 acres on campus to work with, which could accommodate significant growth, as well as four acres on two parcels west of campus on either side of the D.C. Farmers market. Those will likely be ground leased to a developer for market-rate housing with ground floor retail.
  • They’ll be opening up Olmsted Gate at 6th and Florida NE and a plaza on Neal Street to create a stronger connection between the campus and surrounding neighborhoods.