Students at Lehman College have a new home away from home when they are not in class. The Student Life Building re-opened on October 30 after a $1.98 million renovation and re-imagining.
The new design includes space for the Herbert H. Lehman Center for Student Leadership Development and the many clubs and organizations sponsored by the Office of Campus Life, including the Student Government Association, Student Legislative Assembly, and student newspaper and radio station.
“The newly renovated Student Life Building ensures that our students have a place to retreat to,” said President Ricardo R. Fernandez. “It gives them a much-needed breather from their hectic schedules, and in the case of many of our students, full-time jobs.”
The Student Life Building is located at the south end of campus, between the athletic field and Gate 13. The main entrance was reconfigured to allow natural light to flood the interior entrance to the facility, permitting a view through the building across the south field to the Old Gymnasium Building. Heating, air conditioning, and lighting systems were replaced to be more energy-efficient.
Additional student club offices were created on the first and second floors by removing or relocating walls, producing space for 31 separate groups with individual entrances. All spaces are furnished with new furniture and state-of-the-art technology – large monitors, computers, etc. – for workshops, presentations, and study groups. The building is wired for high-speed internet, offering the fastest connection on campus. Between classes or workshops, students can relax in the lounge with ping-pong tables, refurbished pool tables, and other activities.
Another dramatic detail is the use of walls as ” galleries” for student art. The Student Life Art Project, known as SLAP, invites students to submit their work for consideration. Exhibits range from canvases to murals to photographs, with a placard introducing the artist and describing the inspiration behind the work.
Chardonnay McMillian, Student Government Facilities and Planning Officer, spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and said the renovation is a representation of the student activities that are a unique lifeblood of the college. “Renovating this building means student leadership has a home again,” she said. “It means fostering a sense of community and support system that we students may not find elsewhere.”
Funding for the renovation of the Student Life Building was provided by the Lehman College Association for Campus Activities and the City University of New York (CUNY). The architect was WASA/Studio A of New York City and the primary contractor was CORBEX.