A new reading room, cafe and lounge are all being added to the ground floor of 65 West 11th St. as part of an ongoing renovation of the Lang building.

The ground floor will be closed through Jan. 21 to coincide with the start of the Spring 2018 semester.

“Since a primary goal is to enhance community, we decided to begin the project with a focus on the first floor of the 11th St. Lang building,” said Stephane Browner, Dean of the college.

Lia Gartner, the Vice President for Design, Construction and Facilities Management, said that the two classrooms that were located on the ground floor will be combined to become the reading room. More space for a lounge and table seating will be added, along with a new cafe and window access to provide more light.

The work is part of regular construction projects the New School completes every fiscal year. If small enough, they are generally completed in the summer. The total cost of the lobby renovations is included in the university’s capital plan for the fiscal year. The college could not provide the exact cost of the ground floor project.

The Lang Space Committee meets monthly to plan the ongoing renovations that will continue to take place at Lang. The committee is made up of Dean Stephanie Browner, Lang Associate Dean Riva Kadar, Lang budget director Alex Draifinger, as well as Lang, Parsons and NSSR faculty members and students, and representatives from buildings management, Lia Gartner and Jean Oei.

In addition to the renovation of the ground floor, the renovation has also included the relocation of The New School Free Press newsroom, a new classroom and a new study lounge on the 4th floor of the building.

As a part of the next steps in the renovations, Stephanie Browner explained in an email to Lang students that they have the opportunity to submit ideas to name the new space. After the first ideas are submitted, a list will be sent out from which students can vote for the final name.

Student responses to the renovation so far are mixed. Some have expressed concern about how the construction is affecting their experience in the 11th street building.

“This construction has been extremely disruptive in my studies. I have a class right above the construction and it becomes hard to hear the professor or continue a discussion when the noise literally drowns us out,” said Miriam Vergara, a senior at Lang.

Other students have been willing to tolerate the inconvenience.

“It makes things generally inconvenient, but in the grand scheme of things, it will be a bigger space,” said Kendra Ing, a sophomore at Lang.


Photo by Jorge Romero

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