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Inside the University Building Boom

National
    Inside the University Building Boom

    American college education is making headlines today as President Obama stumps for his community college plan in Indiana. But some of the nation's most prestigious private four-year institutions are also setting their sights on growth. Here are a few of the biggest university expansions currently underway.

    Columbia University

    Columbia University

    Size: 6.8M SF
    Where: The Manhattanville section of western Harlem.
    Cost: $7B

    Columbia's 20-year, 17-acre expansion plan will double the size of the engineering school, make room for 167 new faculty members and allow for 2.5K grad students. Introduced in 2003, the growth spurt has seen plenty of controversy, with the use of eminent domain to push out commercial tenants in the manufacturing district particularly thorny. Some locals are still wary of the Ivy League invasion, but architecture buffs are thrilled that Renzo Piano is contributing a science center. And the school's "community benefits agreements" promises to lift the fortunes of neighbors rather than displace them via soaring rents.

    Harvard University

    Harvard University

    Size: 1.7M SF
    Where: The Allston neighborhood of Boston

    Harvard's long-simmering goal to build on its Allston footprint—the B school and many of the school's sports venues are already there—nearly ground to a halt during the financial crisis and has since been scaled back. Current plans calls for a $1B science center and a partial relocation of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. A mixed-use complex will include retail and 325 apartments. Athletic facilities including the hockey rink and basketball stadium will be upgraded as the institution grows beyond its famed Cambridge core campus across the Charles River.

    University of Notre Dame

    University of Notre Dame

    Size: 750K SF
    Projected cost: $400M

    Last January, Notre Dame unveiled plans for its "biggest project ever." Fittingly, it will surround the holy grail that is the university's 85-year-old football stadium, which will follow the pro sports arena trend and add thousands of premium seats. Flanking the east, west and south sides of the stadium will be new digital media, anthropology and psychology buildings; a new student center; and homes for the music and sacred music departments. The northern border facing Touchdown Jesus will, of course, go untouched.