Bronx Community College broke ground this morning on a $102 million building that will house a huge library, classrooms, a lounge, and more. It's being designed by Robert A.M. Stern, an esteemed architect whose work is more often associated with Yale. Construction is expected to wrap up in 2011.
The "North Instructional Building and Library" is the first academic building to be built on the campus since BCC moved in to replace New York University in 1973. Today, more than 9,000 students are pursing degrees at the college, a 30 percent increase since 2001.
"As our enrollment grew we needed a new building," said President Carolyn Williams at the groundbreaking ceremony. Not that is was easy: it took 12 years to secure the necessary funding and turn the dream into a reality.
Williams called the 98,600-square-foot building "a symbol of our commitment to provide the best for our students."
The 43-acre campus is already home to several magnificent structures, including the Gould Memorial Library (1900) and the Hall of Fame for Great Americans (1901). Both were designed by Stanford White, who was famous both in life (his other masterpieces include the New York Herald Building) and death (he was murdered).
The challenge for Stern, then, was to create something that didn't look out of place, while at the same time making it user-friendly and incorporating 21st Century "green" technology, such as high-efficiency and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
"The interior will knock the socks off people when they see it," said Stern in a statement. "On the one hand it's classical and on the other it's light and airy."
When finished, the three-story building will boast views of the Cloisters and the Henry Hudson Bridge.