Office of the President, Lee C. Bollinger

City Council Approves Proposed Expansion in Manhattanville

December 19, 2007

Dear fellow member of the Columbia community:

I am very happy to say that this evening by a favorable vote of the New York City Council the way has been cleared for Columbia to pursue building a new campus in the seventeen-acre area known as Manhattanville in West Harlem. Few among us can have escaped knowing, at least in general outline, the idea of a new campus in this area just north of the Morningside Heights campus. I will not, accordingly, belabor this announcement with any detail. But, just to give a sense of the importance of what the City's process has now permitted, we should bear in mind that, when the University assembled in 1896 to lay the first cornerstones for the new campus on Morningside Heights, it dedicated a space of roughly the same size as Manhattanville.

To reach this milestone we have participated in a very rigorous review process with our City, which has involved the efforts of hundreds of people, among them our neighbors in Harlem, government officials, elected representatives, and members of our own community of faculty, students, staff, and alumni. Now, after five years and innumerable discussions, negotiations, plans, documents, hearings, and votes, we have arrived at a significant turning point on the matter of space for the University to grow--for our generation, I should add, as well as the next.

Our new campus, which will meet the highest standards of architectural and urban design, and environmental sustainability, will house our schools and academic programs, as well as provide over 800 units for faculty and graduate housing. The long-term opportunities for Columbia and the people who live and work in our community and our City are barely imaginable to us at this early moment. Perhaps what we can best say at this point is that the course of knowledge will be our guide.

At the beginning of next semester, I will offer more information about and proposals for where we go from here. For now, my deepest thanks to everyone involved in bringing this to fruition.


Lee C. Bollinger