About the Project
Columbia Law School is a world-class educational institution that must provide its students with modern and functional spaces in which to study, convene, and collaborate. The renovation of the Law Library—one of the largest capital investments in the Law School's history—will deliver on that imperative with a total redesign of three floors of Jerome L. Greene Hall, comprising nearly 50,000 square feet in total. Made possible through funds raised during the Campaign for Columbia Law, including a lead gift from alumna Alia Tutor '00, the new space will include:
- An open, light-filled design with views across Revson and Ancell Plazas
- A signature two-story reading room
- More than 600 study seats, an increase of up to 70 percent over the current library's capacity
- Reservable group study rooms of various sizes designed to be flexible and adaptable to evolving law school pedagogy
- State-of-the-art technology, ample supply of power, and flexible room and seating configurations
- Tastefully appointed furniture, fixtures, and aesthetic details throughout to create a comfortable, well-designed, and beautiful space for all who use it
HOW WE GOT HERE: COMMUNITY INPUT
Beginning in 2017, we began to explore the possibility of a large-scale Library renovation and engaged the leading architectural firm Perkins Eastman to facilitate focus groups, conduct benchmark analyses of other academic law libraries, and examine the constraints and opportunities of the building itself. The results of that process were shared with a task force of faculty, students, and administrators—including members of the Law Library staff—which was tasked with gathering input from our community, identifying the most pressing space needs and priorities, and helping to inform possible design directions.
Project updates will be communicated via email, through the Campus in Motion email newsletter, and archived below. If you have questions about the Library renovation, please contact [email protected]. If you would like to report construction-related issues or disruption once work commences, please contact Building Services at [email protected].
NOVEMBER 29, 2022
Looking Ahead: Library Renovation Project
What Comes Next: The Project Scope and Timeline
Those who regularly make use of the Library will certainly understand the urgent need for this renovation and will also appreciate the project’s formidable scale. Involving roughly 50,000 square feet of space located within the core Law School’s main academic building, this project is one of the most complex and significant in our history—and in the long history of Columbia’s Morningside campus.
The Law Library Renovation Project will be divided into three distinct phases:
- Design Development and Pre-Construction (Winter/Spring 2023): Over the next several months, the architects will work to finalize design elements—including seating configurations, technology equipment, furniture, and finishes in consultation with the Library Renovation Steering Committee. During the upcoming winter break, we will begin some preparatory work within the Library to create temporary workspace for the Library staff and begin to remove shelving on the 2nd and 5th floors.
- Phase 1: Fire Safety and Building System Upgrades (Summer 2023-Summer 2024): Prior to any renovation work taking place, New York City building code requires that fire sprinklers be installed throughout Jerome Greene Hall and that other building systems be upgraded. Multiple floors and sections of JGH will be temporarily taken offline, in successive phases, for periods of several weeks at a time. The floor-by-floor plan for completing this work is currently being developed and more detailed plans will be shared early in the new year. A plan will be developed with the goal of minimizing inconvenience to occupants of JGH, although some disruption will be unavoidable.
- Phase 2: Law Library Construction (Fall 2024-Summer 2025): Once the Phase 1 work is completed (expected by the end of Summer 2024), demolition of the existing library space and construction of the new Law Library can commence. While the Library is undergoing renovation, the print collection will continue to be available to students and faculty, though may require additional retrieval time for materials. In addition to the newly acquired space in William and June Warren Hall, the Law School is also planning to make other study spaces available to students, both at the Law School and elsewhere on campus.
As we prepare to move forward, a Library Renovation Steering Committee—including faculty, students, librarians, and staff—will convene in December and into the spring to serve as the primary means of gathering input from across the community. At the same time, teams of experts at the Law School and University level are working actively to construct project plans, taking into account the complexity of a project of this scope and its location in the Law School's central academic building.