University Leases New Floors in 79 Fifth Ave.
In his first few months in office, President David Van Zandt has made it clear that he considers securing new space on campus to be one of his highest priorities and has already announced plans to build out The New School in the Greenwich Village area.
In joint meetings held with The New School For Social Research’s Graduate Faculty Student Senate and the New School Free Press Van Zandt announced that the university would soon be adding three more floors in 79 Fifth Ave.
The New School already occupies the fifth floor of the building, and recently expanded their lease with Kalimian Realty to include the sixth, 12th and 16th floors. The university also hopes to be able to lease the eighth floor by 2013.
With a move-in slated for this summer, Van Zandt plans to make the transition “without disrupting students.” The New School has not yet come to a decision about which divisions will be given first preference, but is considering programs such as Milano and Parsons, or, as Van Zandt said, “places with not enough space.”
Since 2001 enrollment of degree-seeking students at The New School has risen by 3,330 — an increase of 46 percent.
In an effort to accommodate the demands of the growing student body, The New School has rolled out a number of changes to “the campus,” including the relocation of health services from Loeb Hall to 80 Fifth Ave., and the opening of new study space on 90 Fifth Ave. “Space is a challenge, that’s for sure,” said Van Zandt. “We have to use it very carefully.”
Former-President Bob Kerrey drew controversy when he announced that 65 Fifth Ave., which formerly housed Fogelman Library and a large study center, would be torn down to make way for a new university center, sparking student protests in 2008. Protesters argued that the university was wrong to deprive students of necessary study space without offering a suitable interim replacement.
But allocating new space, especially in a notoriously crowded and expensive city like New York, has its challenges. “You have to shoehorn space into new space,” said Lia Gartner, vice president of design, construction and facilities management. “There are no fast tracts of land to just plop down space.”
In addition, The New School hopes to incorporate community feedback in their construction plans in order to avoid the mistakes of institutions like New York University. When planning construction, “We do it as deliberately and thoughtfully as we can,” said Gartner.
Students can also expect to start seeing more athletic centers on campus. “This summer we will be starting to build out Loeb Hall and adding fitness capability there,” added Gartner.
The new university center will also include a fitness center. “Not a basketball court,” quipped Van Zandt, “but a place to work out.”