At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, 2011, BMCC will commemorate the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 by draping a giant American flag—its dimensions are 76 by 40 feet—on the south wall of the college’s Fiterman Hall.
The flag will quietly be affixed to the south side of Fiterman Hall, facing the World Trade Center, a striking tribute to the 2,819 individuals who died as a result of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, as well as the eight students and alumni who were part of the BMCC community.
A new Fiterman Hall
Fiterman Hall, now under reconstruction, is the nation’s only academic building destroyed in a terrorist attack.
When 7 World Trade Center—just across the street, and badly damaged by fire and debris from the nearby Twin Towers—collapsed, it slammed against Fiterman Hall, leaving a huge gash in the building’s eastern and southern facades.
Thanks to an unprecedented partnership between federal, state and city agencies—and local efforts led by New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver—the original Fiterman Hall was razed, and construction of the new Fiterman Hall is well underway, with completion on schedule for fall 2012.
A symbol of resurgence
The new 15-floor building, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, will include community gathering areas, an art gallery, conference area, classroom and office space, and is scheduled to open in fall 2012.
The original Fiterman Hall, donated by Miles and Shirley Fiterman in 1993, has evolved into a symbol of New York City’s resurgence since the devastating attacks of 9/11, when the school served as Emergency Command Center for search and rescue and other emergency operations led by the City of New York, in the weeks and months following 9/11.
BMCC President Antonio Pérez says of that time, “BMCC drew strength from the unbreakable determination of its students and staff—and from an incredible outpouring of compassion and support from our friends and neighbors, here in New York and across the nation.”
BMCC has also come to represent the City’s resolve to get back on its feet, economically in the last ten years. Enrollment in CUNY’s community colleges has surged by over 30% in the last ten years, as individuals strive to upgrade their employment skills.
“Public education is the engine that drives our workforce and economic development, our innovation, and our competitiveness,” said CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg remarked at the building’s groundbreaking, “Fiterman Hall’s reconstruction will be the latest milestone in Lower Manhattan’s remarkable comeback.”