Campus Master Plan Update

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Photo by Michelle DePinho

Manhattan College continues to work out details on expanding the campus in the coming years. The south campus will be developed by either renovating the Leo Building or designing an entirely new building for science, math, technology and engineering south of Leo’s current location.

“The major component of the whole campus master plan is the new STEM building,” Andrew Ryan, vice president of facilities, said. “The next part that we are actually right in the middle of now is STEM study. They are looking at STEM as it exists now on campus.”

Right now, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) majors are distributed amongst the Research and Learning Center, Hayden Building and  the Leo Building. The STEM study is looking at what is happening in each of the three buildings in regards to the School of Science and School of Engineering.

Looking at those three buildings and the schools, Ryan said that these questions need to be answered: “What needs to be arranged to create more appropriate adjacencies? What needs to be renewed physically? And the big component, what needs to go into the new building? What’s the best to put into the building based on what we have now and where we are looking to go in the future?”

At the Manhattan College Senate meeting in April, three different solutions were discussed.

The first is to create a new 30,000 square foot STEM building with renovations to Leo, costing a total of $55 million.

The second option is to spend $35 million more on Leo Building renovations than the first option, rather than build a new STEM building.

The third and final option would be to demolish and build a new Leo Building. This would give MC 120,000 square feet of new space, but is the costliest option,  with a $125 million price tag.

The master plan formerly included constructing either a quadrangle on south campus along with a new building across from the Leo Building, with talks of MC acquiring the land currently occupied by Karl’s Auto Body. However, these talks have stopped and Ryan said that it “probably won’t happen on that site” and the building could be built either north or south of Leo but will “more than likely” go south.

Noting relationships with the surrounding community, Ryan said local residents will be given copies of the new campus master plan. There will be a meeting for the community to hear and learn about the upcoming construction.

“They [the local community] find out about it before we fully get a chance to explain it to them,” Ryan said. “They only hear bits and pieces of it. We will meet with them and explain everything we have on the radar screen. But we want our internal community to know about it first.”

There will be a town hall meeting for the college on Dec. 1 to explain the master plan and Ryan said the meeting for the surrounding community will be soon after.

Presently, some aspects of the campus master plan are already underway.

The first phase of the master plan includes renovating the former dining hall, Dante’s Den, in Thomas Hall. Several offices and centers will move into it, including the centers for academic success, graduate advisement and career development, the study abroad office, the writing center, academic support for athletics, the specialized resource center, student financial aid and graduate admissions.

Demolition and construction will begin in about a month and Ryan predicted the offices would be ready by the end of the spring semester.