FORDHAM UNIVERSITY
 
 

 
Q. Why does Fordham need to further develop its Lincoln Center campus?
A. For three, very important reasons: 
  1. The space available at the Lincoln Center campus is inadequate to serve the needs of the current student body.

    All of Fordham's programs at Lincoln Center are terribly cramped. The campus buildings were designed in the 1960s for 3,500 students at most. Today, approximately 8,000 students and a corresponding number of faculty and staff are housed there. The libraries have grown and so has the need for special educational environments: computer labs, art and dance studios, "smart" classrooms (fully wired) and laboratories. Conference rooms, where they exist, are frequently turned into classrooms during high-demand periods. As a result, Fordham has leased more than 150,000 square feet of space elsewhere in Manhattan, but this is only an interim solution, expensive and unsatisfactory, as it fractures the campus community.

    Fordham has only 106 gross square feet (GSF) per student at Lincoln Center.  Another Manhattan university has more than 350 GSF per student. The national average for schools of Fordham's size is more than 300 GSF per student. When all of the proposed development is completed, Fordham will have a projected 223 GSF per student.

    In many cases three or four of Fordham's faculty members share an office. Part-time faculty do not have offices at all, and there is virtually no space for student activities or programming.

    Student services occupy only a few small offices, and there are no fitness or athletic facilities other than a set of outdoor tennis/basketball courts.

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  2. Space inadequacies jeopardize the quality and competitiveness of Fordham's most distinguished programs.

    Fordham Law is ranked in the top 25 nationally and is the 15th most selective in the nation. Yet it has only about 40 percent of the space enjoyed by its peers. The American Bar Association accrediting teams have repeatedly cited the facility as inadequate.

    Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service is ranked 13th in the nation, yet it must share classrooms with other schools, has no student lounge or faculty assembly space and no conference rooms for seminars or meetings.

    Fordham's Graduate School of Business Administration, whose part-time MBA program is rated 19th nationally and 14th among top regional schools, suffers all of these limitations and has much of its faculty housed in off-campus space.

    Despite its convenient location, this campus does not have assembly space large enough to accommodate more than 250 people, ruling out the possibility of having major academic conferences on campus. In addition, there are no food service facilities or rooms large enough to accommodate a group of this size.

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  3. There is a tremendous demand for the educational programs Fordham offers that the current facilities cannot meet.

    There is only one dormitory on this campus. Undergraduate students from the metro area and across the nation want to study at Lincoln Center, particularly for our dance and theater programs. Unfortunately, we can only accommodate 650 undergraduates and approximately 200 law students. There are no accommodations at all for students from the other graduate schools.

    There is no proper theater, only one modest dance room, very limited computing facilities, fewer than 300 seats in an under-plaza library that, despite compact shelving, has only five to six years of growth left for its collection.

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Q. Won’t Fordham’s development put an undue strain on West Side services?
A. Fordham is examining service impacts very carefully in the Environmental Impact Statement for this project. The project will be built over a period of 25 to 30 years.

Most of the first phase of the project is designed to accommodate the existing student population with a projected increase of only 1,000 students and 240 staff by 2014.  Half of these new students will live on campus.  The total increase for the entire project (by 2032) is projected to be 2,800 students and 440 staff.  Again about half of the new students will reside on campus.

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Q. Why can't Fordham further develop the other campuses to meet its needs instead of the one at Lincoln Center?
A. Fordham has deep roots in Manhattan dating from the beginning of the 20th century. The planned development will meet the pressing needs of the schools that have been in Manhattan since the first few decades of the last century. Fordham's graduate schools of Law, Social Service, Business Administration and Education were established during that period of time.

Fordham's graduate schools have extensive networks throughout the city, but most of them are based in West Side communities. Fordham's graduate schools have developed field placements in the borough of their location and founding: 130 (57 percent) of the 228 field service placements for Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service are based in the Upper West Side. Clearly, our schools are serving their local communities and cannot simply be transplanted to another location without creating hardship for social service and healthcare agencies, and community schools. There will also be facilities expansion at the Bronx campus to meet the needs of the schools located there.

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Q. Why can't Fordham put the bulk of the development in the center of the campus and open up the perimeter?
A. The existing center of the campus, known as Robert Moses Plaza, is a 15-foot-high podium that was built many years ago. Beneath this area is a complex of library space, art studios, an auditorium, computing services and mechanical and circulation spaces which serve the other three buildings on the campus. We are already at full capacity for building in this area, and any additional building into this area would make it necessary to relocate most of the existing facilities.

The proposed development follows the well established New York City urban design principles of putting taller structures on the avenues and smaller ones on the side streets. Our proposed program is in keeping with the contextual design that is now in place on most West Side neighborhood streets north of the campus. The proposed buildings will have street walls along each property line with lots of glass to provide views of the activity within the buildings. Entrances to the new buildings will be at street level located around the entire campus. We have already modified the plans to accommodate many community concerns.

The perimeter of the campus will be a very inviting public area, and will provide access to the Plaza at 61st Street and Columbus Avenue and on 62nd Street in line with the crosswalk to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  We plan to transform the stretch between the entrance to Lincoln Center and the residential buildings along Columbus to our south into a lively, engaging, green environment.

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Q. How did Fordham acquire the site? Were there any conditions placed on the purchase that would restrict the resale?
A. The property was part of a City Urban Renewal Plan in the late 1950s. The property owners were paid fair-market-value by the city, which then sold the property to Fordham for an independently appraised, fair market value. Fordham promised to reuse the site for educational purposes and agreed to cover any remaining relocation and demolition costs.

The agreements restricting the use of the land have expired, but the plan Fordham has developed is in keeping with both the spirit and the intent of the agreements the University struck with the City more than 40 years ago.

After long and careful deliberation, the Fordham University Board of Trustees decided that it was their obligation to use the space available at the Lincoln Center campus to best promote the educational mission of the University. The Board decided to sell the portion of the land that would not be necessary for the University's educational mission over the next 30 years in order to create a Campus Development Fund. This Fund will prevent the costs of the proposed plan from becoming an undue tuition burden on the students and their families, and will help support the development of the educational facilities.

It is better for Fordham and the community for the University to use its property to carry out its educational mission, rather than expanding into the surrounding neighborhoods to buy or rent additional property.

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