The Grand Tour: A Fiterman Hall Update

February 2, 2012

Designed by the prestigious architectural firm of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, BMCC’s new Fiterman Hall showcases scenic river views and soaring glass atriums. Students will meet in sunny lounges, enjoy a stylish café and browse a world-class fine arts gallery. They’ll advance their learning in 100 spacious “Smart” classrooms and computer labs equipped for multiple technologies, and featuring environmental benefits such as sensor-controlled thermostats.

Aspiring student musicians will sharpen their skills in acoustically sophisticated ensemble rooms. Scholars from across the City will convene in Fiterman’s rooftop conference center, and southern views from this 14-story building will overlook the 9/11 Memorial Park and rising World Trade Center site, one of the country’s most historic reconstructions.

Fast track to class

Fiterman’s Grand Staircase will rise from the lobby to the fourth floor, and feature stainless-steel handrails and mesh panels. An escalator will span the same distance, and one of two circular staircases will wind up from the fourth floor to the tenth, its counterpart rising from the fifth floor to the 14th.

Of course, there are also elevators from the lobby to the highest floor in the building.

“One of the features in this building is that you should never have to wait to get to class—these are high-speed elevators,” says Steve Modugno, Senior Superintendent with Hunter Roberts Construction Group.

River views

Fiterman’s southern glass wall, spanning several floors, overlooks the bustling World Trade Center site and Memorial Park, featuring the famous “Balloon Flower (Red)” sculpture, by artist Jeff Koons.

The original Fiterman Hall was irreparably damaged when World Trade 7 fell against it, after the attacks of 9/11. Groundbreaking for the new building took place in November 2009, and completion of the steel construction phase was celebrated with a Topping Out ceremony in March 2011.

Depending on where you stand in the new building, views encompass the East River, Hudson River, or New York Harbor; vistas include the Wall Street area and midtown highrises. Looking from the outside in, Fiterman’s red brick façade and vast windows bridge the old with the new, in Tribeca’s changing historic neighborhood. 

A front row seat, on history in the making

“Anybody can build a building, but can you meet or exceed your client’s expectations?,” says Steve Modugno. “We have a real sense of accomplishment, having worked on this. Something that was abstract is now concrete.”

Not only concrete but 4,400 tons of steel went into the building of Fiterman Hall.

“It has meant orchestrating 300 people a day, with a great deal of continuity,” Modugno says. “Think about the vertical transportation it took to install panels this size in the glass-enclosed lobby. And look at the detail on that staircase. That’s a lot of welding. Lots and lots of work.”

Though he’s completed 18 building projects in the last 20 years, Modugno admits a special fondness for academic structures.

“You’re helping young adults get their education in a modern-day facility, and make the best possible start on their careers,” he says. “On 9/11, these students were maybe eight years old—they don’t have a clue about the history of what happened here, but they’ll learn. It’s going to take another 15 years to rebuild the World Trade Center site, and BMCC students will have front-row seats on that process.”

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  • Designed by the architectural firm of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
  • Slated to open for classes in August 2012
  • Overlooks World Trade Center Memorial Park and rebuilding site

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