NYU School of Global Public Health Plans to Expand in 2021

The School has begun construction to expand its facilities on 708 Broadway by 2021 to accommodate its growing student body and staff.

NYU’s School of Global Public Health aims to expand across several buildings by 2021. The school has drawn up initial blueprints but have not been able to make progress since the COVID-19 health crisis. (Staff Illustration by Chelsea Li)

NYU will expand the School of Global Public Health across adjoining historical buildings — a project that is planned to be completed by January 2021.

The new expansion will occur at 404 Lafayette St. and 708 Broadway, spanning 147,000 square feet in total. The school — which was formally created in 2015 to aid its vision of health equity globally — found its home first on 404 Lafayette St.

“Planning for the new building for the NYU School of Global Public Health began over five years ago,” GPH Dean Dr. Cheryl G. Healton told WSN in an email.

The expansion into the ten-story tall building located in the historic NoHo neighborhood will accommodate growing faculty, staff and student bodies after a 108% increase in admissions over the last three years.

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“While preserving the historic features of the building, access to natural light, a healthy environment, and energy-efficient systems will play a central role in the creation of a collaborative setting in which students, faculty and staff can work productively and efficiently,”  the GPH website reads. “This will further enhance the creation of a distinct identity and new home for the School of Global Public Health as a pioneer of healthy, sustainable practices at NYU.”  

The new facility will feature spaces for research facilities, a fitness center, a conference room, multiple collaborative workspaces, storage areas for bikes, office spaces and communal kitchens.

“One of the most important aspects of our new building is that it provides a home for GPH. Since inception — first as an Institute, then a College, and now a School — we have been spread out in different locations,” Healton said.

Since construction for the new facilities has been placed on hold due to COVID-19, the cost of building this new space remains unknown. With the pandemic rampant around the world, GPH now finds itself gearing up staff, faculty and students for an ensuing battle against the virus. 

“With our new space, we’ll have room to be ambitious and think big,” Healton said. “We see this clearly with the selfless health workers who are putting their lives on the line both around the world and around the clock to help those struggling to survive the Coronavirus.

GPH has been preparing its staff to provide support to students during these turbulent times.

“Perhaps our faculty, staff and students are arguably some of the best prepared to face this pandemic,” Healton said. “We’re all passionate about the study and science behind the everyday and extraordinary the [sic] risks to all populations, especially the most vulnerable among us.”

The school began preparing for the possible effects of the pandemic before the rest of NYU by equipping faculty to provide courses online long before social distancing laws were enforced, enabling for a smoother transition to remote learning.

“For several years, we have been working to take our courses online so we were well-positioned to make this pivot,” Healton said. “Of course there is an adjustment phase and not everyone favors online over face-to-face learning in physical classrooms. It’s an adjustment for everyone. But we are managing well under the circumstances and our students are still receiving the excellent education and training they came to NYU GPH for.”

Members of the GPH Community have been actively participating in the efforts to curb the rise of the pandemic with several faculty members being a source of information in the media, from teaching sanitization techniques to modeling outcomes of the pandemic and describing food safety measures amid the pandemic.

Additionally, GPH, along with NYU Langone Health and Tandon, will work in collaboration with the Open Face PPE Project as part of the New York University COVID-19 Task Force to make medically-tested designs for the Open Source Face Shield, a cost-effective medical face shield, available to all for free.

GPH is also organizing two COVID-19-related events: a panel on why pandemics disproportionately affect the African American community on April 17 and another panel discussing climate action in the age of COVID-19 on April 22.

“[The expansion] is a game-changer for us,” Healton said. “It will dramatically impact and improve on the sense of community and common purpose we’ve been working hard to build over the past five years since the NYU Trustees voted to create our school in June 2015. As our student body has grown, our need for expansion to accommodate them has too.”

Email Aarushi Sharma at [email protected]

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