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Faculty-Based Group Calls For Major Increase In NYU Classroom, Housing Space

NYU’s Rubin Residence Hall on Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village July 15, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)

NYU’s Rubin Residence Hall on Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village July 15, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A faculty group at NYU called for a major expansion of classroom space and other facilities on the current site of a sports center.

The final report released Tuesday by the NYU Space Priority Working Group focused on a piece of university-owned land bounded by Houston Street on the south, Mercer Street on the east, LaGuardia Place on the west, and West 3rd Street on the north.

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The group called for at least 80 new classrooms, a large theater space along with four workshop theaters, a new freshman dorm, a new athletic center, new faculty housing, and new student life spaces on the site.

In all, the new facilities would take up 817,000 to 899,000 square feet of space.

Speaking to 1010 WINS, NYU professor and group chairman Ted Magder said the university is now suffering from a severe classroom space shortage.

“Frankly, we beg, borrow and steal space right now at NYU in order to teach our students and interact with them, and this proposal will give us much-needed new academic to space to meet unmet needs – current needs – that we have at the university,” he said.

The university has been expanding its student body dramatically in recent years, but space requirements have not kept up, Magder said.

“The university has increased its undergraduate student body from 15,000 to 22,000 in the last 10 years, but in the last 10 years, the number of classrooms has remained exactly the same – 170 – which means that classrooms are overbooked. It’s hard to add new classes; curriculum,” he said.

The NYU expansion plan has been mired in controversy. The plans call for the razing and replacement of the current Coles Sports Center at Houston and Mercer streets, and would also eliminate a popular dog run.

A coalition of community groups and residents had filed suit against the school in 2012. The expansion plan has been criticized by those who say it would destroy the historic Greenwich Village neighborhood.

But supporters have said the expansion would help its ability to attract top students. And the expansion plan on the Coles Sports Center site would affect property NYU already controls, Magder said.

“Our proposal would have NYU increase its density – building a structure on a block where the majority of the residents are, in fact, NYU faculty,” he said.

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