By Tara Cangialosi
Fordham University’s newly renovated School of Law re-opened its doors on Sept. 23, the same day that Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) introduced its newest residence hall, McKeon Hall.
Construction for both the new school of law and McKeon Hall began nearly three years ago in 2011.
The $250 million, twenty-two-story glass law school building sits at 150 W. 62nd Street on the Lincoln Center Campus.
Its previous home, the fifty-two-year old Benjamin A. Javits Building, will house a number of academic programs for the time being.
The old space will still be needed because additional construction on FCLC — as well as on the graduate schools for business, social services and education — will take place over the next decade and a half.
The completion of the scheduled campus overhaul is slated for 2032.
The one hundred and sixty thousand square-foot school of law was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, who also designed the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
According to the university, the new building contains 29 modern classrooms, 92 faculty offices and more than enough modern technology to satisfy students and professors alike.
The new residence hall, McKeon Hall, is situated behind McMahon Hall and currently houses nearly 400 members of the class of 2018. Similar to Rose Hill’s newest residence hall, Loyola Hall, McKeon exclusively houses freshman and will remain a freshman dorm in the coming years.
To many FCLC students who have lived in either McMahon Hall or off-campus for the duration of their time at Fordham, the addition of a second residence hall is something very new.
“I think it’s a huge upgrade for the new freshmen class,” Katie Ryan, FCLC ’16, said. “Unlike McMahon [Hall], McKeon is dormitory-style instead of apartment style, and I think that makes a big difference for a first-year student.”
Made up of 12 floors, the residents of McKeon Hall will have access to a number of new amenities that upperclassmen students will not have access to unless they are signed in by a student who lives there.
According to Lincoln Center’s student-run newspaper, The Observer, McKeon has free laundry and study halls, like all of the other residence halls on both of Fordham’s campuses. However, it also includes a reflection room, several integrated learning community lounges, a movie theater, a dance studio, a game room, a full kitchen and a mini kitchen.
These added amenities parallel those in Loyola Hall, which houses the Manresa Program on the Rose Hill campus.
The 125 freshman in Loyola inhabit spacious rooms with hardwood floors, enjoy air conditioning in the warmer months, and have access to a kitchen, numerous study nooks, an event space and the St. Ignatius of Loyola Chapel.
These amenities differ from what many current students on both campuses experienced as freshman.
“I think it’s a great addition to the growing campus,” Ryan said. “[However], upperclassmen students can’t use their amenities, like the [new] fitness center, without being accompanied by a McKeon resident. That’s one of the few drawbacks of being a McMahon resident.”
At Rose Hill, the feeling is similar about Loyola Hall.
“I believe that Loyola is a very nice resource and reward for those who have been accepted to the Manresa Program,” Suzanne Forlenza, FCRH ’16, said. “While the discrepancies [among freshman housing options] are clear… it certainly raises the standard for future improvements in all of our residence halls.”
Brian Byrne, Fordham’s vice president at Lincoln Center, expected undergraduate enrollment to increase with the opening of McKeon at Lincoln Center, as the additional living quarters will meet a “huge pent-up demand” from students who want to live near campus.
Similarly, the Fordham School of Law’s completed construction comes at a good time. In the U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” Fordham Law is ranked in the top tier overall, while the part-time evening program is ranked third in the country.
Both buildings were recently dedicated by the Fordham community, following the end of construction.
The School of Law was dedicated on Thursday Sept. 18, in the presence of Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
McKeon Hall was dedicated less than a month later, on Wednesday, Oct. 1. Robert A. Milici, Jr., vice president for development and university relations and Rev. Robert R. Grimes, S.J., dean of FCLC, were among those present at the ceremony.
“Both the new School of Law and McKeon are beautiful buildings,” Ryan said. “Any lingering construction seems to have been finished up in the first month of school, and they have really given Lincoln Center a campus feel for students.”
Tara Cangialosi is the Web Editor for The Fordham Ram.