A 21st Century Update for a 90-Year-Old Building
The Lawrence and Eris Field Building at 17 Lexington Avenue opened in 1929. It is the historic hub and sentimental heart of Baruch College.
Planned renovations for the 16-story 285,000 square foot limestone and brick Field Building ensure that it joins the other College buildings as a model environment for 21st-century education. This multiphase project puts a strong emphasis on sustainability. Baruch ultimately aims to attain a LEED Silver designation from the U.S. Green Building Council on the renovated building. Please review the 17 Lex Phase 1a Status and Phase 2 Scope for The Lawrence and Eris Field Building for more information.
After breaking ground in Spring 2017, the first phase of the years-long renovation project is expected to last through 2020 and includes:
- A reconfigured Lexington Avenue lobby with a new glass front that lets natural light spill into an airy space; lobby with an interior ramp compliant with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); a security desk and turnstiles for enhanced safety
- A temporary lobby on 23rd street with a security desk and exterior ADA compliant ramp
- Modernized elevators
- Mechanical plant upgrades including the installation of new chillers, boilers, air handling units, and a cooling tower
- Upgraded Con Edison electrical vault at 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue that will provide greater electrical capacity for the campus
- New emergency electrical panels and associated closets throughout the building and electrical conduit stub-outs for future electrical loads
- New 30,000-gallon fire reserve tank and 7,780-gallon suction tank
- Emergency generator
Renovating 17 Lex was first envisioned in a 2008 master plan for the College. Architectural designs were started soon after that, developed to include six phases. Phase 1 construction officially began in 2017. The remaining phases are awaiting funding.
The Importance of Preservation
The Field Building at 17 Lexington Avenue is a historic part of the Gramercy neighborhood amid bustling Manhattan. During its construction, The New York Times praised the building as “the largest structure anywhere devoted to the teaching of up-to-date business methods.” As a crucial part of New York City’s history, it is important to preserve its details. For example, the original lighting fixtures flanking the Lexington Avenue entrance have been meticulously restored and relocated to 23rd Street. Most architectural details of the façade will remain intact.
At one time, virtually every College activity—academic and extracurricular—took place under 17 Lex’s roof, prompting the nickname “College in a Box.” To this day, it accommodates 4,000 students, faculty, and staff members each semester. The renovation is needed to ensure that it remains well equipped to serve generations of future students’ needs.