The ‘Other’ Drama Continues at WTC Site

Although the buildings at the former Ground Zero have understandably gotten most of the news coverage of World Trade Center site rebuilding efforts, at least one other noteworthy story has been playing out in parallel to those. Fiterman Hall at the City University of New York’s Borough of Manhattan Community College was irreparably damaged on Sept. 11, 2001, by the collapse of 7 WTC. Now the 15-story building at 30 West Broadway is currently 16 months behind schedule on deconstruction, reportedly because of funding issues and environmental impact concerns. Originally scheduled to have been completed by February 2007, the deconstruction would pave the way for a new building designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. At a New York City Council hearing last Friday, Elizabeth Berger, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, presented a statement expressing “the Lower Manhattan business and residential community’s collective frustration that Fiterman Hall is still standing.” Noting that no date is currently set for deconstructing the building, she pointed out that BMCC will likely “still be ‘recovering’ come the 10th anniversary of 9/11.” Urging the council to get the Fiterman project back on track, Berger emphasized the strides that the community college has made since 9/11, such as a 20 percent increase in enrollment since fall 2001. BMCC’s enrollment is nearing 20,000, according to a statement from college president Antonio Pérez. On June 1, 2008, The New York Times reported that although the city’s administration says it has committed $80 million to the project, university officials and New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver contend that the city has committed only $20 million. Fiterman Hall opened in 1959 as an office building, and when owner Miles Fiterman donated it to BMCC in 1993, it was at the time the largest private donation to a community college in U.S. history. The building is currently owned by the State of New York Dormitory Authority.Blog Story and Comments