Dorm demolition: The future of the Brookdale campus

Rumors about Hunter College’s 25th Street campus closing are finally being addressed

Situated between 1st Avenue and the FDR Drive, the Brookdale Campus is the site of Hunter College’s nursing program and the home to a number of Hunter students—but not for long.

Rumors of the building closing have circulated for years, but Brookdale’s closing is closer and closer to becoming a reality.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), a development corporation which has led redevelopment and construction for Yankee Stadium, MCU Park and the Whitehall Ferry Terminal, has plans to demolish Brookdale and replace it with a garage facility to house sanitation trucks and street sweepers. The facility will serve New Yorkers from 14th Street to 96th Street on the East Side of Manhattan.

The Brookdale Campus is located in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan

According to the project proposal, which was made earlier this year, Brookdale will be demolished in the latter half of 2018. The project timeline includes three years of contractual planning prior to demolition, but NYCEDC gives no mention of Hunter College or the current residents at Brookdale.

Residence Hall Commissioner Christian Barnes confirmed rumors following a meeting with President Jennifer Raab.

He said: “President Raab said the dorms would be officially closing in the 2016-17 school year.

“She also said that she would continue to push for student housing at the residence for as long as possible, and is looking into other affordable housing arrangements for students.”

As Residence Hall Commissioner, Commissioner Christian oversees student life activities in the three dormitories, and plays an especially active role in the events and activities at the Brookdale Campus.

He added: “In my opinion, housing is a necessity at Hunter College, as it provides an extra length of community that is difficult to get within a charter school.

“For some, it provides the first group (and the last) they’ll see in college, and they need this space as much as anyone to foster and grow.”

Students gather for a late-night study session in Brookdale’s Gameroom

Brookdale is unlike most student dorms: whereas other dorms typically house students in suites with a small number of roommates and suitemates, almost all Brookdale residents have a single room on floors that house about 40 students each. As such, residents form a tightly-knit community, much closer than those in other dorms.

Students in the dorms have received the news of Brookdale closing with mixed emotions: some have seen it coming, while others are surprised.

Kendra Cornelis, a sophomore and Political Science major who has lived at the residence hall for over a year, explained the dormitory’s closing is less important to her than the way information is provided to students.

She said: “I don’t mind that the building is being closed due to negotiations with the sanitation department. What is upsetting is that Residence Life is leaving students in the dark.

“A lot of us who live here, including myself, come from outside of the city, and we should be made aware as soon as possible if we aren’t going to have a place to live so we can seek other arrangements.

“That’s information that we, as residents, deserve.”

Despite the information provided on NYCEDC’s website and the discussion with President Raab, the office of Residence Life at Brookdale declined to make any comment about the impending closing of Brookdale.

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