Senate Committee on Campus Planning and Physical Development
Annual Report

Summer, 2013

At the first meeting in September 2012 Professor Breslow was elected again as the Chair of the Committee this year.  At a later meeting Senator David King was elected to be the Vice Chair of the Committee, a new position. In general, the Chair of the Committee attended the meetings of the Trustees’ Physical Assets Committee, and he was accompanied either by a student or more recently by Vice Chair David King.  Since Professor King’s academic field is Planning as part of the Architecture School, the Trustees were particularly interested that our committee now has a person with professional planning academic credentials in the position of Vice Chair. 


The Committee takes as a major responsibility monitoring the progress and plans for Manhattanville.  Thus at an early meeting we received a report from Joseph Ienuso, Executive Vice President for Facilities, on the current progress of Manhattanville construction.  The area of the new campus is seventeen acres, approximately the same size as the entire interior Morningside campus. A slurry wall has been constructed to essentially protect the entire site from flooding; it is interesting that 125th Street was formerly a river.  The detailed plans for the development of Manhattanville are complete for the first parts of the project, but there is still room for decision about some other components of the future of Manhattanville. 

Funding for the very large Jerome Greene Building to house the Mind, Brain and Behavior Institute is complete and progress is moving ahead rapidly.  As of June 2013 the framework for the building had already reached the height of the subway overpass, and it is wide as well.  Renzo Piano is the architect for the Greene Center, the Lenfest Arts Center, and the Conference Center, the buildings that are going up first.  The plans to move the Business School to Manhattanville are well developed, and progress mainly depends upon successful fundraising.  Subsequent to the situation last year we more recently learned that quite substantial funding for the Business School has been obtained from wealthy donors. Private conversation with a member of the Board of Overseers of the Business School indicated that the remaining needs will be met soon.  Detailed design is underway for the Lenfest Center and the Conference Center. 

Space Needs of the School of Engineering

We also investigated and discussed the space needs of the Columbia University School of Engineering and its plans for three sites: the present location of some of the Engineering buildings, some space in the Northwest Corner Building, and some space in Manhattanville.  We interviewed the acting Dean of the School of Engineering about these plans and now plan to interview the new Dean of the School of Engineering about further ideas with respect to the space needs of the school.  There is a section of Manhattanville that is planned for the expansion of Engineering, particularly for the new Data Sciences Center, and there is additional space in Manhattanville that may become available to Engineering if funding and appropriate justifications are achieved.

Space is being renovated on the first floor of Havemeyer, the Chemistry building, for a new transmission electron microscope facility, to be used jointly by Engineering and by Arts and Sciences, in particular by the Chemistry and Physics and Applied Physics Departments, and for work on nanoscience.  

Space Needs of Columbia College

We also looked into the space needs on the current Columbia campus for the undergraduate Columbia College programs.  We interviewed Dean of the College Jim Valentini, who pointed out that there is need for an exhaustive survey of space use on the campus in order to see what else is needed and how well the current space is utilized.  In particular, since the move of the Business School to Manhattanville will free Uris, a space survey is needed to see what the best uses would be of the Uris  space.  Dean Valentini emphasized his hope that Manhattanville will play a significant role in the education of College undergraduates and not be simply a branch campus with only professional schools on it.  He also pointed out that the further expansion of Columbia College, if that is intended, will require additional undergraduate housing and added classrooms and laboratories.  We will stay on top of any plans in this area.              

Other Space Needs on Our Central Campus

Our committee had some time ago endorsed the need for a Graduate Student Center.  It is now proceeding for construction on the 300 level of Philosophy Hall. 

We discussed a possible new project.  All members of the committee, including the Chair, have pointed out the important role that is played by the Amsterdam and 119th Street entrance.  In the past it was used by visiting teams as a way to go through the tunnel to the gym, an awful way to see Columbia, but that is no longer the way they enter.  It is still used by many of our students and faculty who live on the east side of the campus as a way to enter Columbia, and by faculty and trustees who park in the garage.  Thus it is a problem that this entrance is also where the dumpsters and associated trash are handled.  We recommend that there be a contest among students in the School of Architecture to come up with an attractive way to ameliorate the conditions at that entrance, to make it as attractive as possible.  Facilities Management at Columbia needs to be involved as well in judging such proposals.

We are following with interest the renovation of Pupin Hall, a desperately needed project that has had a good start but needs both funding and planning for the rest of the renovation. 

The Medical Campus

We continue to be interested in the plans for further development at our Medical School campus.  There are eight specific projects underway to develop and renovate space there, including one for a new School of Nursing building. We are also monitoring the recent project to improve the subway station at 168th Street, funded mainly by the MTA but with contributions from Columbia and Presbyterian Hospital.  The initiative to renovate this subway station originated with our committee.

Miscellaneous Needs

We are looking into where bicycles owned by students and faculty are stored, and the possibility that new bicycle stations could be located near the campus and, in the future, near Manhattanville.

While Manhattanville will continue to be our principal area of concern, since its careful successful development is so crucial to Columbia's future, we will continue to look into the needs and plans for the rest of Columbia's physical plant.  

for the committee,

Ronald Breslow, chair   

Campus Planning and Physical Development Committee 2012-2013

Ten.                    Ronald Breslow, CHAIR              A&S/NS
Ten.                    Andreas Hielscher                        SEAS
Ten.                    Frank Lichtenberg                        BUS
Ten.                    Virginia Papaioannou                   P&S
Ten.                    VACANT

Nonten.              Hishaam Aidi                               SIPA
Nonten.              David King, VICE CHAIR              GSAPP   

Stu.                     Victor Kagan                            CDM
Stu.                     Jenna Miller                             GSAPP
Stu.                     Richard Sun                             CC

Admin.               Joseph Ienuso  n-s
Admin.               Geoffrey Wiener n-s

Alum.                 Dermot Johnson n-s                     

Admin. staff       Jerald Boak  n-s                    Morningside/Lamont

Lib. staff             Aline Locascio n-s

Off. Res.             Angela Nelson