Summer Construction at the Morningside Campus

May 27, 2019

Each summer, Facilities and Operations takes the opportunity to complete projects that can only take place with the reduced campus population that summer affords. This summer is no exception, with improvements coming to residence halls, grounds, academic and research space, disability access, and more.

For those on campus, it may feel particularly active with several projects centered in and around College Walk.  Below is a summary of the most visible – and at times noisy – projects, many of which are starting to mobilize next week.  For a complete list and an interactive map of all 2019 summer construction projects, please visit cufo.columbia.edu/news/summer-2019-construction-projects.

  • Permanent accessibility ramps between College Walk and Low Plaza (adjacent to Kent Hall), and the Kent Hall College Walk entrance.  The ramps are designed to complement the historic campus architecture and will look similar to the recently installed ramp adjacent to Hamilton Hall.  Toward the end of this week, the entrance to Kent from College Walk will be closed for the length of this project as construction mobilization begins.  During this time, Kent can be accessed via its upper campus entrance, with additional disability access via the side entrance to Philosophy Hall from Amsterdam Avenue (prior CUID authorization required; contact Disability Services to request authorization).
  • Low Library interior and exterior.  There are several interior and exterior renovations taking place at the iconic Low Library, some that will extend beyond the summer.  The lobby ceiling at the building’s main (second floor) entrance is undergoing a historic restoration in the areas where scaffolding is already in place.  In addition, a year-long restoration of the monumental cast iron windows by the west gallery in the Rotunda is beginning this summer, and there will be a scaffold and hoist at Low’s north roof to remove decommissioned mechanical equipment and repair sections of the roof where the equipment resided.
  • College Walk bollard replacement.  Retractable bollards (short vertical posts that are raised and lowered to restrict vehicle access to buildings and grounds) will be constructed and installed on the east and west sides of College Walk to replace existing bollards at the same locations that are not functioning.  This project has started to mobilize, with the first set on the east (Amsterdam Ave.) side anticipated to last for approximately one month.  When that set is completed, the center Amsterdam College Walk gate will open and the project will switch to the west (Broadway) side for the second month, completed by the end of summer.
  • College Walk trees.  Some of the littleleaf linden trees on College Walk are aging and diseased, with scientific testing revealing root rot, internal decay, and other poor conditions.  A handful of trees that are exhibiting the worst of these conditions will undergo additional testing and examination, and may require removal and replacement this summer.  Our Grounds team is working with professional arborists and landscapers to monitor the health of the remaining trees and continue this process as needed over the next few years for trees that need to be removed. 

To maintain pedestrian safety, there will be restrictions on College Walk pathways.  At times, access to Low Plaza from College Walk will only be available from the plaza’s west side near Dodge Hall.  Disability access from the Dodge Hall/College Walk elevator will remain accessible at all times.  Note that at all times, portions of College Walk’s north and south pedestrian paths will remain open to form a complete east-west route across campus while this work is taking place.

If you have questions about the construction impacts of these or other projects, email projx@columbia.edu or call the Facilities Services Center at 212-854-2222, available year-round, 24 hours per day, seven days a week.