The Field Building, also known as 17 Lex, occupies the 1847 site of the Free Academy, the first institution of free public higher education in the United States and an essential piece of Baruch’s heritage. Construction on the current facility began in 1928. Known as the “Commerce Building” when it first opened in 1929, it housed the School of Business and Civic Administration of the City College of New York.
The ornamented Italian Renaissance revival style façade on 23rd Street is constructed of limestone and brick and engraved with “The College of the City Of New York.” Mason Hall Auditorium, located on the first floor, is the home of the Baruch Performing Arts Center. It features decorative details that call attention to the building’s original elegance.
The building is used by thousands of students, faculty, and staff. Currently, it houses administrative staff and 60 classrooms, 8 computer labs, and 19 science labs. When fully renovated, the state-of-the-art building will accommodate smart classrooms, up-to-date science labs, a student lounge, and faculty and staff offices.
Timeline of Significant Chapters in the History 17 Lex
- 1847: the Free Academy, the first municipally-supported college in New York, is built at 23rd and Lexington
- 1928-1929: Construction of the School of Business and Civic Administration building at 17 Lexington Avenue
- 1953: The school was renamed after philanthropist and financier Bernard M. Baruch
- 2005: The building was renamed Lawrence and Eris Field Building after philanthropist Lawrence N. Field and his late wife, Eris
- 2017: Renovations at 17 Lex officially begin