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The New School Gets A New Dormitory Building

CLIENT: Arun Bhatia Development Corporation / VALUE: $4.5M / TIMEFRAME: 12 months / SERVICES PROVIDED: Builder

THE SITUATION: The New School, a private research university in New York City, needed to increase housing for its growing student population. The university wanted to construct a new dormitory building in the Chelsea area of Manhattan by demolishing and replacing an existing single-story steel and masonry structure in time for its fall semester.


THE CHALLENGE: General construction in Manhattan offers its own set of challenges. This project included avoiding liquidated damages related to the developer’s responsibility for housing students if the project was delayed. The biggest challenge was a neighboring residential building. This 4-story structure had a large “bulge” in its east block wall. The bulge was approximately 15’ wide and extended from the first floor to the top of the third floor. Excavation and construction adjacent to this compromised structure created the danger of collapse.  

THE SOLUTION: Simple Creative Structural Solutions. Working in cooperation with the neighboring building, shoring beams and jacks were utilized to support the timber floor system in the area of the bulge from the foundation slab to the roof beams while replacing the entire area of masonry from grade level to the roof level. A reinforced concrete mat slab (4’ thick x 6’ wide) was also installed in the new dormitory, tight to the foundation wall of the neighboring building, to provide additional lateral stability and protection.From demolition of the existing single-story building to completing the interior buildout of all dormitory rooms, common spaces, and mechanical spaces, a 56,650 square foot six-story dormitory with a full basement and penthouse was securely built. The second floor through the penthouse houses students while the ground floor is used for retail space and includes entrance vestibules for the dormitory. The basement is used as a communal space for the students.

THE RESULT: The New School got its needed dormitory delivered on time with no liquidated damages to the developer or risk to the neighbors.

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