Trustees approve two new buildings

By Aviva Rosman

The Board of Trustees has authorized two new building projects to move forward to the architect selection and design phase, David Fithian, secretary of the Board of Trustees, announced after a recent meeting. Both the Physical Sciences Division and the Harris School of Public Policy have begun raising money and soliciting designs to expand and improve their current spaces. Current plans would place the new Harris School adjacent to the Law School at East 59th Street and South University Avenue, while the new physical sciences building will replace the Accelerator Building at the corner of East 56th Street and South Ellis Avenue.

Harris School outgrowing space

“The Harris School is growing so fast that the current facility is not sufficient,” said Raja Kamal, the Harris School’s associate dean for resource development. “Right now, some students cannot find seats in their classes. So if we are to expand the faculty and student body, we need a new physical space to compete effectively with Harvard and Princeton.”

The school needs to raise a quarter of the money necessary for a new building, which amounts to roughly $50–60 million, before the University proceeds to hire an architect, Kamal said. Once they reach that level, the Harris School will work with the architect chosen by the University, and currently plans to break ground on the new building next September.

Kamal said that the Harris School hopes the new building will include a television studio, so that faculty can be used on a feed to networks, and a large assembly room.

“We want a gathering space the can hold 600 to 800 people for formal events with heads of state or major speakers, not only for the Harris School, but for the University,” Kamal said. “We don’t have a lot of large gathering venues so we hope to address that with the new building.”

Unlike other departments that receive most of their financial support from the University, the Harris School must raise most of its building funds on its own, primarily from individual gifts.

“We’re pretty much on target,” Kamal said of the fundraising effort. “This is our number-one focus and we have a good plan to proceed to raise the rest of the funds.”

Phy Sci proposes adding new science quad

Robert Fefferman, the dean of physical sciences, said Friday that the Board of Trustees had authorized the initiation of the process to select an architectural engineering firm for a new physical sciences building.

“I am excited by the prospect of major improvements to the division’s research facilities over the next few years,” Fefferman said in an announcement to faculty.

The projected building will house astronomy and astrophysics classrooms and offices, the Kavli Institute, computer science classrooms, and the Computation Institute. Renovation of the Research Institute (R.I.) will also take place within the coordinated project.

The division also recommended that, by the end of the project, the Low Temperature Wing of the R.I. (the Astronomy and Astrophysics Center) and the High Energy Physics Building be demolished, and that a new science quadrangle be created west of the R.I.

Fefferman said that over the next two months, the physical sciences division will work to organize the selection process and begin developing detailed tasks and schedules for the initial planning work, including analyzing the feasibility of vacating the entire R.I.

According to Valerie Conn, the director of development for the physical science division, fundraising for the project is just beginning but is moving steadily forward.