Pre-Construction Work to Begin on Northwest Science Building - March 20, 2007

Pre-Construction Work to Begin on Northwest Science Building

March 20, 2007

Dear Members of the University Community,

To help fulfill Columbia's great need for more space for science instruction and academic research facilities, the University is about to begin constructing a new science building on the northwest corner of the Morningside campus.

The Northwest Science Building, designed by architect José Rafael Moneo, will be located at the corner of Broadway and West 120th Street above the Levien Gymnasium and between Chandler and Pupin Halls. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2010, the 14-story building will house faculty offices, classrooms, a science library, a café and interdisciplinary research facilities for the departments of chemistry, biology, engineering and physics.


The fields of science, math and engineering are a cornerstone of Columbia's historic academic leadership. Today, our professors, researchers, and students continue to make advances in rapidly evolving areas like nanotechnology, computer science, genomic science and biomedical engineering. This type of collaborative and interdisciplinary work in the sciences requires new kinds of spaces that foster new levels of interaction.

When completed, the new science building will provide both an intellectual and physical bridge among different departments and disciplines. It will connect to Chandler and Havemeyer Halls, which house the Department of Chemistry, Pupin Hall, which houses the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Schapiro Hall, Mudd Hall, which houses the School of Engineering and Applied Science and Fairchild Hall, which houses the Department of Biology. This new architectural connection will unlock new opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary research. In addition, by freeing up existing space for reallocation and renovation, the building will help ease the space crunch in other departments and create opportunities for further improvements.


What is happening this spring isn't exactly building construction, but what's called the "Site Preparation & Pre-Construction Phase." It primarily involves excavation and work on the foundation for the new building that will eventually go up on this site. The current schedule is:

Mobilization & Site Protection Mid-March 2007 - April 2007
Top Soil Removal Late March 2007 - May 2007
Temporary cessation of work May 4th - May 11th [Final Exam Week]
Temporary cessation of work May 16th [Columbia Commencement Day]

We anticipate that work will stop in the fall of 2007 to avoid disrupting the start of the academic year and fall season sports, and will resume in February 2008.


As with any construction project, there will be some temporary inconveniences and impacts, such as the loss of metered parking and the relocation of bus stops. Columbia University Facilities and our construction management partner, Turner Construction, will take every practical precaution to minimize the potential impacts on our quality of life during the various phases of the construction.

Construction notifications will be regularly posted around the construction site and throughout adjacent buildings during the construction process. A summary of construction logistics can also be found on the Columbia University Neighbors Web site at: under the "Construction Projects" tab.

Please note that Dodge Fitness Center will remain open and fully operational throughout the construction of the project.


If you have any questions or concerns about the construction or its impact on your campus experience please contact the Columbia University Facilities Services Center at (212) 854-2222, or you may e-mail construction related questions to [email protected].

For updates on major university construction projects, please visit the Neighbors Web site at: and click on "Construction Projects" tab.


We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding during the construction phase of the new Northwest Corner Science Building. This endeavor is central to creating the kind of space and facilities that support collaborative research and an improved teaching environment on the Morningside campus.

Joe Ienuso
Executive Vice President
Columbia University Facilities