by Adanna Carter & Daniel Ynfante, Staff Writer & Assistant Editor
Manhattan College will be adding new infrastructure to its south campus, located on 238th Street.
On Nov. 18, Mitchell Giurgola, an architecture firm based in New York, announced on its website that it was selected by Manhattan College to design a new 30,000 square foot STEM facility.
The firm boasts experience working on STEM projects at other universities, which was a key reason why Andy Ryan, vice president of facilities at Manhattan College, believes the firm was chosen.
“We wanted someone who actually had experience doing our kind of building and working with an institution like Manhattan,” Ryan said.
“If you’re working with very large schools … it’s a different world when the design teams are working on that. … We wanted someone who was used to working with smaller schools like the size of Manhattan.”
To select the firm that would work on the project, Ryan worked with an advisory committee consisting of several faculty members and administrators.
Among those selected for the committee were Provost William Clyde, Dean of the School of Science Constantine Theodosiou and Dean of the School of Engineering Tim Ward.
During the search process, Mitchell Giurgola and the other final candidates came to Manhattan for interviews. They met with the deans and faculty members to get a better sense of what the building, which will house the Schools of Engineering and Science, might need.
Mitchell Giurgola’s strong showing in this phase, coupled with its impressive individual presentation, convinced Ward that Mitchell Giurgola was the firm to select.
“The composition of the team,” Ward said was one of the factors the committee considered when selecting the firm they would hire.
“Do they address these types of issues? What type of work have they done before? How well were the clients satisfied by the work that was done? So those were all things that had to be discussed.”
The Mitchell Giurgola team Ward is referring to consists of Manhattan College alumni.
Working with alumni of the college on facilities projects is a recurring phenomenon for Ryan, who regularly deals with consultants and contractors.
“The college is actually in a pretty fortunate position most of the time,” Ryan said, “because of the number of graduates that we have out there in the professional and consulting and construction community. When we go into a project like this we actually get a pretty good choice of some quality firms to work with.”
The project is still in its feasibility phase while the firm inspects and surveys the site, meets with the deans of the respective schools and comes up with a design plan.
The project, like any other major facilities upgrade, will take some time, but Ward is just glad that action is being taken.
“I think it was clear that the board of trustees wanted to move it earlier rather than later,” Ward said.
“I think that was a very clear and appreciated message that we should be doing this as soon as we can because the STEM needs and the engineering needs on this campus are strong, are major.”
According to Ryan, the study phase should be done by June, and then the design team will start developing building plans.
Although no official opening date has been set for the building, Ryan believes 2020 is a realistic target.
Still, the mere news that the college is willing to improve its STEM facilities satisfies Ward.
“It will be a needed shot in the arm,” Ward said about what the new STEM building will mean for the School of Engineering. “It will be a boost for us. We have a lot of needs now. We have a lot of students.”
“Right now our labs are old. They are constrained. We’d like to expand that. So we see lots of benefits from new lab space and remodeling, whether it is in a new building or in a remodeled building.”