A partially completed café opened this week between Furnald Hall and the Graduate School of Journalism, making it the latest development in the ongoing renovation of the Journalism building. The main component of the project, the construction of the Stabile Student Center, has been finished since November.
Out of a $7 million goal, the school has raised over $6 million for the venture, which is largely funded by alumni Toni Stabile and Daniel Edelman, Journalism ’41.
The school installed the Stabile Center with the aim of centralizing student services and providing a lounge space for students, who spend the bulk of the day at school during the 10-month degree program.
“The message is that students are at the center of life at the school,” Dean Nicholas Lemann said.
The lounge includes computers and a large viewing screen, which the Society of Professional Journalists at Columbia will be using for Super Bowl Sunday.
“It’s perfect because I think every school needs a space where students can hang out and do nothing,” Yian Huang, SPJ president and Journalism ’08, said. “It’s a very important part, not just for the social and sanity aspects, but for networking, getting to know each other.”
As part of the University’s constant battle for space, the construction has enabled the school to streamline its space allocation. Student-oriented functions—career services, the library, and the office of the dean of students—have moved to the west wing, where the lounge is located, and administrators have opened up underutilized space for more classrooms and offices.
“It used to be impossible to come into this building and find where anything was,” said Susan Radner, assistant to the dean.
Launched in May, construction was projected to finish by fall 2007, and while the lounge did open in November, Lemann said he hopes the overall project will be ready in time for next year’s class.
“One of the reasons we are going slowly on the café portion has to do with the complexity of the design and its unique components,” communications director for facilities Daniel Held wrote in an e-mail.