Nov

4

B-School Movin’ on Up(town)?

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UPDATE, Sunday 3:10 PM: As pointed out by a commenter, news of the Business School potentially moving to Manhattanville was amply covered by the Spectator last year. The precise location is unconfirmed. The source for the Economics Department’s cancelled move to Knox Hall is an administrator in the Economics department via a student tipster; this is also unconfirmed.

RETRACTION, Sunday 3:10 PM: The assertion that the Economics department will relocate to Uris is pure speculation.

Apparently rendering Uris Hall menacingly hostile to outsiders was hardly enough for business students still surrounded by the puerile pestilence of unkempt undergrads. According to an anonymous (and unofficial) tipster, the B-school now wants out of Morningside entirely. After one planned location, St. John’s Cathedral Close, was given the kibosh (Bwog speculates it might have had something to do with that pesky Biblical maxim about money lenders in the temple, or perhaps the decidedly anticapitalist rhetoric penned on the bathroom walls of the nearby Hungarian Pastry Shop), Columbia is, our source states, planning to move its instruction of future captains of industry to- you guessed it- Manhattanville. The specific location, in fact, will probably be at the end of 125th Street, down by the new Hudson Piers Park, placing part of Alma Mater, at long last, directly on the Hudson shore.

The catch? Well, much of the proposed site is currently occupied, seemingly, by the viaduct of the Henry Hudson Parkway. Not to mention, our tipster writes, “we don’t own (and we aren’t gunning to own) the plots of land closest to the river”. Bwog wonders what this new development could mean for Columbia’s protracted battle with CB9 over the fate of the neighborhood. As for Uris, it could, apparently, be handed over to the Econ Department, especially now that its move to far-flung Knox Hall at the Union Theological Seminary has been nixed. And though the B-school’s putative move is at least five years away, we hope for the sake of future Columbians that Flex and Dining Dollars are to be, once again, enshrined as legal tender at a deli that welcomes undergrads with the waft of hot, handmade sandwiches.

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19 Comments

  1. Skeptical

    I doubt that the new site will *literally* be at the end of 125th Street, for the reasons mentioned in the text. The B-School will more likely get some of the westernmost parcels in the existing plan.

    Btw, since when has the Econ department's move to Knox been called off? This is the first I've heard of it.

    • Bwog  

      our informant specifically mentioned "125th and the river" as the line he heard from a b-school official. the same tipster mentioned that the knox hall idea had been called off. take it with the same grain of salt as well- this is not something from the administration, necessarily- but it's not hard to see why they wouldn't want to be in such an out-of-the-way location.

      • and another thing  

        While "take it with a grain of salt" is all well and good, I think posting this without any kind of verification is pretty irresponsible. People are going to read this and think that it is true. Perhaps the University is secretly plotting to build a new B-School right on top of the new Harlem Piers, and if so I commend you for your scoop. More likely, this was a simple miscommunication, where someone used "125th and the river" and meant 125th on the street site closest to the river--ie 125th and 12th. Publishing information from an anonymous tipster is fine, but this post illustrates why getting a response is important--a single phone call to someone in the administration would have cleared this up.

        • I dont think  

          he (the bschool official) literally meant "the river". He probably meant 12th avenue. If you take a look at Google Maps, you'll see that building that close to the river on 125th is of questionable wisdom by any standard

        • Skeptical

          That's a good point. Articles like this give opponents of Columbia's plans ammunition, which is fine if the information is accurate but only serves to fan the flames if it isn't.

          It's not hard to imagine this article leading to angry protests and op-eds demanding Columbia cancel its non-existant plans to take over part of a new public park.

          • umm  

            what are they going to do when they protest this, cite the gossip website bwog.net? and what would they be protesting if everything that's being posted is true...that columbia is going to take over the parking lot under the viaduct by the river? come on. the comments here are just perpetuating the rumor cycle by making it seem like columbia is apropriating the park, which the post never stated. as for a year-old spec article, speculations from back then have no bearing on what's happening now...

      • Skeptical

        Knox won't be so out-of-the-way once there are a few buildings up and running in Manhattanville.

        Columbia is going to put somebody in Knox, though Econ was a suprising choice given its need for large classrooms which would be hard to work into the building's modest scale.

        Yes, Econ could move into Uris after the B-School moves out. Uris is pretty big, though (it's more than twice the size of Knox, and Econ wasn't even going to get all of that building), and Econ couldn't possibly use all of it. It would have to share at least one other department.

        But if the B-School's move is at least five years away, Econ couldn't move into Uris for at least six more years since Uris would have to be upgraded while it's empty. Econ is very cramped and plans to add at least ten more professors, so I don't think it can wait that long.

        • I thought  

          Econ's ten new professors were already hired, no? And sharing offices or something awful like that...

          Also, Sociology is feeling pressure to get out of Fayerweather. To where? Nobody knows.

          • Skeptical

            Econ already hired ten new professors but still plans to add more. Now that I think about it, they may only want seven more. (The two new hires this year simply offset a retirement and a departure.) That's still a sizable expansion for a deparment that has no room left.

            Sociology was supposed to kove into Knox along with Econ, and can still do so even if Econ doesn't move with it. There's no reason to think the entire Knox plan has been shelved; Columbia signed the lease years ago and is going to use the building one way or another.

        • Uris  

          got massive upgrades this summer, to the bldg infrastructure as well as the lobby.. and last summer the library was overhauled.. very extensive work for a building that won't be in use for much longer

  2. old news/wrong news  

    The B-School has long been considering moving to Mville. See this Spec article from last year: http://www.columbiaspectator.com/media/storage/paper865/news/2006/04/25/UniversitySpace/University.Envisions.Mix.Of.Academic.Research.Space.For.Manhattanville-2027222.shtml?norewrite200611041944&sourcedomain=www.columbiaspectator.com

    "Another possible candidate for relocation to Manhattanville is the Business School. "The Business School has discussed many options, Manhattanville is one of them," said Senior Executive Vice President Robert Kasdin.

    John Kiker, the Business School's associate dean for Marketing and Communications was receptive to the idea, but noncommital. "If the Manhattanville campus is approved ... we would definitely examine that option," he said in a statement.

    Tim Baldenius, David W. Zalaznick, Jr. associate professor of business, said that while he would welcome additional space at the Business School for classes and presentations, working on Morningside's campus provides opportunities to stay in touch with faculty from across schools and disciplines.

    "I like the idea of [a] comprehensive campus with people from all different departments coming together," he said. He said that Manhattanville could one day grow into a campus like that, but that he was concerned that it might feel like "an outpost."

    Also, your tipster should get his/her facts straight. The site being considered for the B-School (or another professional school if they decide tnot to move business) is 125th and 12th, not "125th and the river." This has been publically stated by university officials on several occasions.

  3. GAH  

    HAVE YOU PEOPLE EVER HEARD OF FACT-CHECKING? IT'S NOT THAT HARD. (But a lot less fun than posting shady threads...)

  4. We should  

    Tear down Uris. The building is a horrible, horrible waste of space. Its footprint is enormous but the actual usable square footage is rather paltry.

    We could erect something much more pleasant, much more efficient, and make much better use of that land.

    • Skeptical

      You forget that Uris is on top of the old gym and shares its footprint. The northern part of Uris (where the business library is) is as short as it is because the gym underneath could not support more weight. Besides, if something taller were built there the northern part of the campus would feel very claustrophobic -- especially once the new science tower is built atop the western end of the new gym.

      Uris's main problem is the windowless pavilions on either end of the main tower. They have no windows because they were build around pre-existing smokestacks for the old power plant, which was in service until the early 1990s. I don't know how practical it would be to extend the office floors into that space and add windows, especially given that the spaces aren't very large.

      I agree that Uris is generally unattractive, but replacing it would cost a lot of money (probably over $100 million) and I'm not sure that anything significantly larger could really be built there. Aesthetics alone are not reason enough to spend that kind of money.

  5. Skeptical

    re: the 3:10 p.m. update:

    Who said anything about the B-School moving to Knox Hall? That's not what the article said. All it said was that Econ reportedly *wouldn't* be moving to Knox (which is part of the UTS quad) and that Business would relocate to Manhattanville. The retraction is just adding to the confusion.

    Besides, Knox is far too small for the B-school. It's only about 50,000 square feet, but Business currently has about 135,00 sq. ft. in Uris and another 40,000 in Warren. One of the main reasons the school wants to move is that it needs more room, so relocating to a space 72% smaller than what it has now -- and with no room nearby for future expansion -- would make no sense.

    • Off the  

      top of my head, I can think of 4 or 5 classrooms in Uris that can accomodate ~100+ students. That's all the Econ dept needs. The biggest class it has is Principles, after that, they are all manageable in size.

  6. wirc  

    I think that the tower façade of Uris is actually not that bad, and if another school moves in, hopefully they will fix it up and maybe punch new windows into it. Because it is sheathed in limestone, it actually blends in and hides behind the phenomenal architecture of Low. Anything built there now would either look ugly like Lerner or crappy like Schapiro CESPR. If they just changed the metal parts to copper, it would make it much less drab and more contextual for a minimal cost.

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