NYU should refocus on current renovations


The University Space Priorities Working Group released its final report and an executive summary in an email to the NYU community yesterday. Created by NYU President John Sexton in October 2012, the Working Group comprises 26 faculty representatives who give guidance to the administration on the “existing, pressing space needs of academic units and programs” and listen to the “implications of the NYU Core Project for members of the University community.” After so much focus on the expansion plan, the administration should return attention to restoring the quality of current facilities on campus.

In its final report, the Working Group recommended the construction of 80 new classrooms and 40,000 gross square feet of student study and meeting space, in addition to specialized performing arts spaces. The group also suggested that the Coles Sports Center site be remodeled to include student residence halls that could accommodate 500 freshmen and about 100 units of faculty housing. In the email, group members expressed confidence that their recommendations were consistent with the NYU academic mission.

The Working Group discussed fiscal responsibility in the executive summary and advised that NYU should not adjust future tuition fees to cover capital costs. A more detailed section on financing recommended that NYU preserve current tuition assumptions and commit to an increase in fundraising, replacing the $136 million target with a substantially higher goal. Some say this target is not feasible.

While the construction of new facilities may be necessary to support the students currently enrolled at NYU, the proposed expansion project overshadows other construction projects already in progress. According to the university’s website, a number of buildings are under renovation, including the Waverly Building and the Silver Center for Arts and Science. The administration could better serve the NYU community by focusing more on these renovations and restoring other antiquated facilities including the Tisch Dance Builing on Second Avenue and the Barney Building on Stuyvesant Street. The administration should update the NYU community on the progress of the current renovations and ensure that older buildings on campus are receiving the same attention as the expansion plan.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, March 5 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected]