PROJECT COST: $325 Million

Nine years after the Borough of Manhattan Community College's Fiterman Hall was damaged beyond repair on 9/11, a new structure is rising in its place.

Fiterman Hall
Rendering courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, New York
Fiterman Hall

Construction of the 14-story, 390,000-sq.-ft. Fiterman Hall, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, New York, started just weeks after completing demolition of the damaged building. The new $325 million facility will house 100 classrooms and computer labs, faculty offices, a conference center, an art gallery and caf�.

The original 15-story building at 30 West Broadway served as an extension of the Borough of Manhattan Community College's Chambers Street Campus, providing much needed classrooms, computer facilities and offices for the space constrained college. Losing Fiterman reduced BMCC's classroom space by one-third at a time of steadily growing enrollments.

"BMCC is one of our most overcrowded campuses," says Iris Weinshall, CUNY's vice chancellor for facilities planning, construction and management. "It has been a challenge for us to find addition space downtown."

Efforts to demolish and rebuild the facility were plagued by delays while CUNY negotiated an insurance settlement, developed detailed deconstruction plans to satisfy regulatory agencies and wrangled with City and State officials over funding.

Deconstruction started in November 2008 after the City agreed to finance $139 million of the $325 million project cost of the new facility. The remainder of the funding is provided by the insurance settlement, New York State, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and the September 11th Fund.

CUNY started foundation work in early December 2009. "We are using the existing foundation walls for the most part," says Robert Lemieux, CUNY executive director of Design, Construction, and Management. "But we are drilling 43 new caissons for the structure."

The steel-framed building will be clad with a brick and glass curtain wall. On the north and south sides the building features multi-story glass atriums with circular staircases. "It opens the building up to the community," Weinshall explains. The atriums also provide space for student lounges. The top two floors of the building house a conference facility with a double height atrium space facing south.

The reconfiguration of the street grid after 9/11 created a triangular pocket park to the south of the building.

Maintaining a safe and efficient worksite in what has become a busy and heavily trafficked construction area in downtown Manhattan is challenging, says Sean O'Connor, project executive with Hunter Roberts Construction, New York. Due to the level of street activity the Department of Transportation is requiring the building's crane to be located on site instead of the street.

Erection of the structure's steel frame will start this summer and take four six to eightsix-months.

Contracts for MEP work and the rest of the fit-out will be award shortly. "We are hoping that with the downturn in the economy and with construction a little bit slower than it was a few years ago that we will be able to realize savings in those categories," Weinshall says.

Key Players

Owner: City University of New York
Project manager: The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
Construction manager: Hunter Roberts Construction Group, New York
MEP Engineer: Jaros, Baum & Bolles (JB&B), New York
Structural Engineer: Ysrael A. Seinuk, PC, New York
Civil Engineer: Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, New York