Campbell Sports Center

Campbell Sports Center

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What is happening?

Columbia University is proposing to construct a new Sports Center and a waterfront public access area at Baker Athletics Complex, the primary athletics facility for Columbia outdoor varisty sports programs.

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Can you tell me more about the proposed new Sports Center?

The Campbell Sports Center at Baker Athletics Complex would be built on Columbia-owned property and would replace a small maintenance building as well as a paved area adjacent to the soccer venue.  It would be an approximately 48,000 gross square foot, five-story building located at the intersection of Broadway and 218th Street and help meet current space requirements.  The proposed Center would house strength and conditioning spaces, offices for varsity sports, an auditorium, a hospitality suite and student-athlete spaces.  The Center is being designed by Steven Holl Architects. 

Would the building be LEED Certified?

Yes.  The University's goal is to build the Campbell Sports Center at a minimum of LEED Silver.  LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

When would the news Sports Center be built?

We are currently in the fundraising, planning and design stages.  The goal is to have the Campbell Sports Center fully built by 2012.

How long will the construction last?

The construction will last approximately 18 months.  Construction is expected to start in 2011.

Why does the University need to construct a new building?  

Chrystie Field House, to the west of the proposed Sports Center, is approximately sixty years old.  It provides locker rooms for the student-athletes who participate in outdoor sports at Baker, and with a recent renovation also provides athletic training and sports medicine space to serve them.  It contains none of the coaches' offices or administrative offices or meeting rooms which would be provided in the proposed Center.   

Would the new building provide a community room for community usage?

The primary usage of the building will be to meet the current student-athletes' needs. As Columbia has done in the past, we will coordinate with the community to make space available whenever possible.  While this will be limited to the times the space is available, it is the University's intention to work with community and elected leaders to develop a system that will make it easier for the community and Columbia to coordinate. 

Who is the architect?

Steven Holl is the architect for the new Campbell Sports Center.  Holl is a New York City-based architect best known for the Pratt Institute Higgins Hall Insertion in Brooklyn, the Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum in Helsinki, Simmons Hall at MIT, and the recently completed Linked Hybrid mixed-use complex in Beijing.  In July 2001 Time Magazine named Holl as America's Best Architect.

I heard Columbia has a master plan for the Baker Athletics Complex which includes more construction than what has already been identified.  Is that true?

No.  The only plan at this time for either new construction or renovation is the proposed new Sports Center and waterfront public access area.   As it has always done, the University will continue with its maintenance and enhancements (such as replacement of field surfaces) of the existing sports venues at Baker.  

Has Columbia reached out to the local community?

Yes.  The University has engaged the local community, community board and local elected officials early to keep them informed and solicit feedback to learn how we can best work with the community.  Click here for a list of meetings that have taken place.


What can the community expect in terms of construction impacts?

As with most construction projects, the community may see an increase in traffic and noise during construction.  Once the building is enclosed, construction noise should be minimal.  The University will communicate continuously with the community during construction. 

Will the local community be able to use these new facilities and/or any of the facilities at Baker?

The Boathouse Marsh will be open to the public.  Columbia is also proud to be an active member of the local community.  Over the years, our students and employees have participated in numerous community service events - from free sports clinics and use of facilities to complimentary tickets to food and toy drives - all aimed at bringing the University closer to the community.  Columbia also offers numerous programs to benefit children in the local community.   Columbia Cubs Camp, New York Soccer Academy and The Dick Savitt Tennis Center are Columbia-affiliated recreation programs that offer discount and/or free enrollment to children in the local community. 

The University is committed to increasing the accessibility of the facilities at Baker for local residents of Inwood further and we are currently working to determine exactly how this increased access might take shape. 

Do these projects have to go through a public approvals process? 

Because the proposed new Campbell Sports Center is located on a "waterfront block", waterfront zoning regulations require that waterfront public access areas be provided in connection with the development.  Because there is only very limited space available at the shoreline of the Baker Athletics Complex or elsewhere on the site that is not otherwise used for Columbia's programmatic needs, Columbia is applying to the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) for an authorization to modify the waterfront public access requirements in connection with the proposed new sports center. On April 6, 2011, the City Council voted in favor of this applicaiton.  

What are some environmentally sustainable elements of the project?

As with all Columbia University construction, one of the strategies of the new Campbell Sports Center is incorporating sustainability and ecological innovation into the design.  The building will be LEED Silver certified at minimum. 

I used to vote on the first floor of Chrystie Field House, but voting in the fall 2009 election was moved to the 2nd floor of Chrystie.  Is this a permanent change?

In the summer 2009 Chrystie Field House underwent a renovation, which included the conversion of the lounge on the first floor, which had been a designated voting location, into a locker room for the Columbia football team.   Although the lounge was no longer available, the University desired to continue providing a voting location for the community, and worked closely with the Board of Elections to find an alternate location: the newly renovated media room on the 2nd floor of Chrystie.  The University recognizes that the location of the media room is not as convenient for some voters and will continue to work with the Board of Elections to find alternate spaces that may work better as a voting location. 

I live across from Chrystie Field House and am concerned about the noise from the mechanical equipment on the roof.  What is being done about that?

The University has installed enhanced sound-attenuating devices in each of the two rooftop units to reduce the sound level generated by the mechanical equipment.  An acoustical barrier has been erected, and a revision to exterior ductwork has been  implemented.  Additionally, the University continues to monitor the sounds. 

During events at Baker, especially football games, parking and bus idling is a big issue.  How is parking handled during events and what is being done to alleviate the situation?

Columbia University hosts five or six NCAA Division I varsity football games during the calendar year.  All home football games take place on Saturdays between mid-September and late November.  New York City No Parking restrictions are utilized to better manage traffic flow on West 218th Street and minimize the impact of increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic on the neighborhood.  The University works with the NYPD's 34th Precinct to post No Parking - Saturday signs on the north side of 218th Street between Broadway and Seaman Avenue only during the week of each varsity football home contest (no more than five or six days each year.) Initiatives to further help alleviate the parking situation include enforcing a no idling policy, encouraging fans to use public transportation and utilizing area parking lots for staff member vehicles.  In addition, the University provides shuttle buses from its Morningside campus to minimize the number of cars in the area.  We will continue to work with the community to address parking concerns.

Can you replace the barbed-wire fence that surrounds the perimeter of the area?

The barbed-wire has been removed and the University has recently installed a shorter,  more aesthetically fence as well as menicured hedges in front of the fence.   

The stadium lights are on at night and are very bright.  Can something be done?

We are happy to report that we have installed remote control lighting at the football, field hockey and soccer venues so that we can shut the lights remotely in the event that teams or the intramural adn club sports program decide not to use the facility on a particular night.  The lights at the field hockey venue have also been upgraded with more energy efficient, directional lighting to provide more focused, directional lighting and cut lighting glare. 

Who can I contact with questions about these or any other Columbia construction activities?

Should you have any questions or concerns please contact the Columbia University Facilities Services Center at 212-854-2222 which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week or e-mail projx@columbia.edu.  You can also find updated project information at http://facilities.columbia.edu//