On December 10, the New York City Council approved the re-development of the Kingsbridge Armory, two blocks south of the Lehman College campus. Plans call for the Armory to be transformed into the city’s largest indoor ice rink, featuring nine rinks that will be open year round, state of the art facilities, seating for 5,000 people, and community and educational space.
Since the beginning of the process, Lehman College and President Ricardo R. Fernández have supported the development of the ice center and sought opportunities for collaboration. In a letter of support in June 2013, President Fernández wrote:
“It is always been a part of Lehman College’s historic mission to uplift the community that we call home both as an institute of higher learning, a cultural center, and a place of transformation in the lives of our students. This mission is part of our DNA. I believe that the creation of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center will—and the unprecedented commitment it has negotiated with local community groups—will help with that mission and become a transformative event for the communities of the northwest Bronx.”
Lehman College is ready to see the Kingsbridge National Ice Center become a reality.
It has always been part of our mission to lift up the community that we call home— as an institution of higher learning, a center for arts and culture, and a place that transforms the lives of thousands of students every day. The Kingsbridge National Ice Center will serve an unprecedented role in helping Lehman College achieve that goal: changing our students’ lives and expanding their visions of the world.
Lehman College has 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students—a great many are the first in their families to attend college. Another 10,000 students visit campus regularly as part of our continuing education programs. And thousands of people from across New York City enjoy our athletics and arts facilities each year. With the Kingsbridge National Ice Center as one of our closest neighbors—and the thousands of people it will bring to the area—all the members of our community stand to reap enormous benefits from this project. The millions of dollars in anticipated economic benefits that our neighborhood would experience is only good news for Lehman College and we look forward to being a part of this revitilaization.
We’re excited about the Center’s pledge to incorporate an educational component: the after-school programs for youth and the proposed elementary academy. In our experience such programs can only be incredibly beneficial for students. The involvement of the New York Academy of Sciences in this programming fits with Lehman’s role as a leader in science and technology education, as well as our programs in health sciences, sports medicine, media, and management.
Lehman already has first-class facilities, which we are certain will complement the ice center’s programming. Our new Science Hall opened to students this year, and is becoming a hub for research. Our multi-media center is a state-of-the-art video and audio production facility—available for educational and programming purposes. Our students, faculty, and alumni are already fortunate to have a world-class athletic facility at their disposal—with basketball courts, an indoor track, racquetball courts, fitness centers—and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
That swimming and diving facility is a huge reason Lehman has the most City University of New York swimming championships—including last year. It offered opportunity—for young people from across the Bronx to experience something new. To develop a passion. The Kingsbridge National Ice Center will offer even greater opportunity—ice hockey, figure skating, and other activities just a short walk away.
This center has the potential to become the next icon of the Bronx—along with the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Garden, and Yankee Stadium. And, of course Lehman College, the only CUNY senior college in the Bronx. We are part of what some call the Education Mile—Lehman College, Dewitt Clinton, Bronx High School of Science, the High School of American Studies as well as the Walton High School Educational Complex and Elementary School 86. The Kingsbridge National Ice Center will anchor that mile. Thousands of energetic young people—all within walking distance—all looking for their passion.
We feel strongly that the Kingsbridge National Ice Center will only enhance our community and the lives of the thousands of students who attend classes along the Education Mile. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with the Ice Center.