Hunter College President Jennifer Raab announced plans to sell off the school’s 3.5-acre Kips Bay nursing campus near 25th Street and F.D.R. Drive, and build a 16-story building for science and health professions programs at 67th Street and Second Avenue, closer to its overcrowded main campus on the Upper East Side.
Hunter wants to replace it with up to 14 stories of classrooms and labs (and two stories for mechanical equipment) that would consolidate the science labs, now located elsewhere on the main campus, as well as the nursing, nutrition, and physical therapy classrooms and labs that are in Kips Bay. The Governor and the state legislature have already approved a $78 million allocation for Hunter’s new science building.
Opponents decry the planned displacement of the 80-year-old Julia Richman Education Complex, a set of six elementary, middle and high schools. Many of the complex’s residents and neighbors object that even if the new school building were state-of-the-art, the swap would put them in a worse location, obviate millions of dollars of renovations, and ruin an increasingly productive relationship with the community.
The private developer that bids on the one million square feet of development rights on East 25th Street would have to build a new campus for Julia Richman on the property, according to the NYC Department of Education’s instructions, and also accommodate the 600 dorm rooms that are currently there, either keeping them on the site or moving them elsewhere.