On Wednesday, Barnard shared initial construction plans for the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation Center for Well-Being and the Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center.
In an email to students on Wednesday, Barnard announced the creation of Barnard Builds, a construction communications program. It will oversee communications for two upcoming projects: the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation Center for Well-Being and the Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center. The full text of the email can be found below.
The Francine LeFrak Center will be housed on the first floor, mezzanine, and lower level of Barnard Hall. Abatement is expected to begin in October 2022, with major construction likely beginning in March 2023. Barnard plans for a phased opening during late 2023 and early 2024.
According to the Francine LeFrak Center website, plans for this project include a 4,000-square-foot fitness center open to students, faculty, and staff. It is expected to include locker rooms, gender-inclusive facilities, and a dedicated Athletes Room for Columbia and Barnard female athletes. Additionally, Barnard plans to convert the former swimming pool into the Ethel S. LeFrak ‘41 and Samuel J. LeFrak Theatre. This theatre will include around 225 seats and will be used for classes, performances, and events. The Francine LeFrak Center will also house dedicated spaces for Being Barnard, the College’s sexual violence education and prevention program, The Wellness Spot, and educational programs for Mental Well-Being and Financial Well-Being. The purpose of the Francine LeFrak Center is to facilitate holistic wellbeing, consisting of the physical, mental, and financial spheres.
Plans for the R&D Science Center include renovating Altschul Hall, expanding the building northward and connecting to the Milstein Center, Milbank Hall, and the Arthur Ross Greenhouse. Early demolition is expected to begin in January 2023 with construction likely beginning in August 2023. According to the R&D Science Center website, faculty and staff are expected to move out of Altschul Hall in January 2024, and the building will likely close in the winter or spring of 2024. The completed building is expected to open in the first half of 2026.
The expansion is intended to house the Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Physics & Astronomy departments. Its purpose is to “elevate the College as a leader in preparing young women and underrepresented voices for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields” with the creation of new classrooms and labs to conduct research projects. The center will also contain a Community Science Center to give workshops to NYC students, hold exhibits, and house Barnard programs Science in the City, Math and the City, and STEAM in the City. The R&D Science Center is also expected to have 87,000 square-feet dedicated to the programmable sciences.
In their email, Barnard Builds acknowledged the disruption and inconvenience of on-campus construction projects, and stated it aims to communicate timing and safety measures, such as the upcoming abatement and demolition work for the Francine LeFrak Center. Additionally, Barnard Builds plans to hold meetings with faculty, staff, and students about the construction projects, as well as inform community members who live near campus of construction logistics.
Email from Barnard Builds to Barnard Students on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 2:04 pm:
Dear Barnard Community,
We are excited to share updates on our two key construction projects that will dramatically transform our campus facilities and create new spaces for students, faculty, and staff.
In the coming months you’ll start seeing preliminary mobilization work on the new Francine A. LeFrak Foundation Center for Well-Being in Barnard Hall. This new physical space will not only bring together programs for physical, mental, and financial well-being for the entire campus community, but it will also expand and enhance physical fitness spaces in Barnard Hall — including a new 4,000-square-feet fitness center that will be open to students, faculty and staff; shared spaces and meeting rooms that can be used for events, seminars, and programming; and new locker rooms and gender-inclusive facilities. In addition, the former swimming pool on the lower level will be transformed into the Ethel S. LeFrak ’41 and Samuel J. LeFrak Theatre, a flexible +/- 225-seat venue for classes, performances, and events that will enhance and expand opportunities for our community. We are targeting a phased opening in late 2023 and early 2024.
Preliminary work on the second project, the construction of the Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center, is expected to start in early 2024. This project, which will renovate and expand the existing Altschul Hall into a state-of-the-art science facility, will help elevate the College as a leader in preparing young women and underrepresented voices for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. This dedicated building for sciences will transform and extend our existing science spaces with contiguous teaching classrooms and labs that will enhance our curriculum’s integrated research experiences as well as a Community Science Center where we will host science workshops for New York City children, create engaging and interactive exhibits, and house Barnard programs such as Science in the City, Math and the City, and STEAM in the City. We expect the R&D Vagelos Science Center to open in the first half of 2026.
While we are excited about these two projects, we also know that construction on campus can be disruptive and inconvenient at times. Those of you who were at Barnard during the construction of the Milstein Center will remember that we had a robust communications plan that included weekly email updates, meetings and fun events that provided information and celebrated the different stages of construction, and a dedicated email for you to use to ask questions or voice concerns. Today, we are launching a similar communications program for these new construction projects: Barnard Builds.
Over the coming weeks you’ll start receiving Barnard Builds updates with information on the Francine LeFrak Center project, including the timing and safety measures in place for early abatement and demolition work that will prepare the site for construction. For now, you can visit the Barnard Builds website for more information and/or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and concerns. We also will be holding meetings with faculty, staff and students over the next few weeks where you can learn more about the Francine LeFrak Center vision, mission, and programming from our VP of Health and Wellness/Chief Health Officer Marina Catallozzi, M.D., MSCE, and construction information and timelines from the Capital Projects team under the leadership of Associate Vice President of Capital Projects Laura O’Connell. Watch your email and the College’s newsletters for the dates of these upcoming meetings. We will start sharing updates on the R&D Vagelos Science Center as we move into next year. We will also be sharing updates with members of the community who live near campus.
We look forward to sharing more details on a regular basis as our planning continues, and we thank you in advance for your patience as we embark on these transformative projects.
Vice President of Enrollment and Communications
Associate Vice President of Capital Projects
Altschul via Bwog Archives