First new North Campus buildings to open in fall ’21
By Melanie Lefkowitz
The North Campus Residential Expansion project is proceeding on schedule despite delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the first phase of the project – including two residential buildings providing beds for 800 students – will be ready for move-in by fall 2021.
On Dec. 18, workers moved the final beam into place – marking an important milestone in the ambitious project, which aims to provide a better residential experience for undergraduates, accommodate planned growth in student enrollment and ease the real estate strain on surrounding neighborhoods.
The final beam was signed by project contributors and campus leaders, including President Martha E. Pollack; Provost Michael Kotlikoff; Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life; Rick Burgess, vice president for facilities and campus services (FCS); and Paul Stemkowski, director of project management for FCS, in a snowy ceremony Dec. 2 before being transported to the building where it was placed. The signatures will eventually be covered by the building’s facade.
“This is a big first step toward having more and higher-quality housing for our first- and second-year students,” Lombardi said. “It will really be transformative for the student experience. The amount of programming space in the new buildings is going to be a game-changer. We’re excited about the opportunity to build community in these new spaces.”
By 2022, the expansion will provide a total of 737,000 square feet of residential, dining and recreation space, including 2,000 new beds, allowing Cornell to accommodate all first-year students in designated campus housing, and all second-year students in campus residence halls, co-ops or other affiliated housing.
The second phase, with three additional buildings, is expected to be completed by fall 2022.
The two buildings opening next year, which will include a new dining hall and fitness center as well as programming and open spaces, at the current pace are on track to finish on time, Lombardi said. Initial landscaping work around the area, which will include pedestrian paths and green spaces, is beginning.
Workers have more than made up for the time lost during the shutdown this spring, Lombardi said.
“We’re really thrilled about the way things are going,” he said.
Students had the opportunity to offer feedback about furniture options, which were displayed in the townhouses during the fall, Lombardi said.
In October, Pollack announced names for two of the five new buildings: One will be named for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54, and one for Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55. In November, a committee was formed to consider names for the remaining three buildings, and an online survey sought suggestions.
A naming committee that sought names that connect to Cornell’s founding and ongoing mission to create an inclusive environment is concluding its work. The committee received 1,490 total suggestions of 188 names – 15 of which garnered at least 10 submissions. The names will be announced in the spring semester.
For more information, to view renderings of interior spaces or to sign up for the monthly project e-newsletter, visit ncre.cornell.edu.