New Ninth Floor Tops Jerome Greene Hall

The 2008-2009 academic year ushered in a few upgrades for Columbia University's law school students, faculty and staff as Jerome Greene Hall received two major additions-a 9th floor on top of its existing structure and new air handling units (AHUs).

The 9th floor addition has created much needed space for the law school, adding 29 new faculty offices as well as two conference areas for faculty and students. The conference rooms, including the Sidley Austin Room which has eye-catching views of southern and eastern New York City, will support a range of activities, from seminars and lectures to student organization meetings and social functions. The new offices support Dean David Schizer's strategic initiative to expand the law school's faculty by 50 percent, thereby reducing the student-faculty ratio and broaden subjects available to students.

By building vertically, the addition is a "green" solution for the Law School's space needs, as the new interior space was created out of its previously unoccupied exterior. With the 9th floor's completion, new, winterized AHUs were installed on the newly constructed rooftop to condition and circulate air as part of the HVAC system.  These new units replaced older, more inefficient units, so in addition to upgrading the HVAC system significantly, they will use less energy to heat and cool the building.

Although there were challenges working in a fully occupied building, such as performing building-wide water and electric shut downs around occupants' needs, the project team successfully completed their work.

"Thanks to close coordination between the law school and our team, we were able to extend elevator, electrical, and HVAC services to the 9th floor without interrupting the day-to-day operations within the school," said Facilities Director of Programs Doug McKean. His project team included Michael Lenihan (Columbia University Facilities project manager), Sciame (construction managers), Paul Segal Associates (architects), ARUP (engineer), and Dometech (commissioning agent).

The expansion project is the first major structural addition to Jerome Greene Hall since the 1995-96 addition to the 116th Street entrance of the three-story skylit lobby, which contains Drapkin Lounge, a quiet area for students to study or convene, and Lenfest Café, a modern dining space complete with an outdoor terrace. Jerome Greene Hall had previously undergone only minor renovations since it opened in 1960.