- New York University has announced its plans for a new $1 billion, all-glass academic building, the largest such structure ever built by the university, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- The 735,000-square-foot building, which is scheduled to be complete in 2021, will feature an underground gym and swimming pool, three theaters, orchestra space and practice rooms, classrooms, faculty and student housing towers and a green roof, with hallways and staircases along the perimeter of the transparent facade.
- University officials and designers said the see-through aspect of the building is meant to help it blend into the community, which lost a court challenge to stop the school’s plans to extend its presence in the neighborhood.
Many activists, which include faculty and students as well as those from the surrounding neighborhood, said the land should be turned into a public park. The parcel, which is part of a "super block" site established in the 1940s and 1950s when famous city planner Robert Moses proposed New York build an expressway through lower Manhattan, was purchased by NYU in the 1960s.
According to the New York Building Congress (NYBC), NYU and Columbia University are leading a higher education building boom in the city. NYBC President Richard T. Anderson said in April that both schools had multiyear growth plans and that the city’s university and college community overall was on track to contribute to the New York construction industry well into the future. According to the NYBC’s analysis of Dodge Data & Analytics information, New York City’s investment in school construction tripled from 2014 and 2015, and it has quadrupled from the period 2010 to 2014.
In its 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook, the group said it expects education construction starts nationwide to increase 9% (138 million square feet) next year, but that the growth will come from K-12 schools rather than post-secondary. Although school construction funding is always a challenge, Dodge said that increasing enrollment and school bond issuances will keep that sector growing.