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New School To Have The Greenest University Center For Students & Faculty In New York City

University Center rendering courtesy of The New School.

Outgrowing its facilities with increased enrollments over the last few years, The New School, a progressive university in the heart of New York City, is now at the half-way point of constructing its new University Center that will be among the greenest buildings in the city, according to its the project designer, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

James Murtha, The New School executive vice president, commented that “Urban universities face special challenges, particularly in a space-starved city like New York. To accommodate the growth of important programs within our limited footprint, we convened with students and faculty over a period of years for a design that embraces the culture of dialogue and debate that is a New School hallmark.”

The design company said the new University Center will provide students and faculty with much needed academic and social spaces within the one building. It will encompass varied facilities including an auditorium, the main university library, lecture halls, classrooms, laboratories, a distant learning center, informal study spaces, a cafeteria, retail cafes, and a 600-bed dormitory with a fitness center.

In addition, the university says that because sustainability is one of its core values, the University Center has been designed to earn a LEED Gold certification, incorporating sustainability features including a rainwater-saving green roof for which the university received a grant from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

The University Center will also feature other notable eco-features such as classrooms that maximize daylight harvesting with clerestory windows and light shelves designed to reduce energy use.

The 16 story building is scheduled for completion in 2013. The single-phase construction project is a departure from the university’s original plan for a much taller building.

Responding to community pressure and existing zoning laws, the university is now taking advantage of relatively low current construction costs, and is being financed through a combination of bonds, gifts, federal grants, and asset sales.

The New School – founded in 1919 – currently has over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students in courses of study including: design, social sciences, the humanities, management, performing arts, and continuing education.


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