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NEW YORK CITY-Manhattan’s hallowed halls of hemlines are being plus-sized. The Fashion Institute of Technology has launched a major two-building construction project scheduled to be completed in December 2003.

The new facilities mark the first phase of a capital improvement program with a price tag of well over $100 million. When the 10-year plan is complete, the State University of New York school will have added 300,000 of new space and renovate another 400,000 sf. The expansion will shore up a 258,000-sf shortfall at the nationally known fashion training ground.

“Construction of new buildings, along with expansion and renovation of existing facilities, will allow the college to continue to grow and respond to the needs of the college community and the industries it serves,” says Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT. “Modernization of our existing facilities will continue to keep our students in the forefront, prepared for careers in the industry.”

Phase I is starting with simultaneous construction of two new buildings designed by the architectural firm of Kevin Hom & Andrew Goldman PC. The total cost of the two buildings will be $19 million, with half of the funds provided by New York State and the other half equally divided between the City of New York and private donors. The entire Phase I plan is budgeted at $50 million.

The East Courtyard Conference Center, located on West 28th Street and Seventh Avenue, adjacent to the Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center, will consist of nearly 21,000 sf occupying two floors and a roof garden. The entrance will be on West 28th Street, making it the first building on campus to open onto this street. The building will be constructed of limestone with red and charcoal banding and a glass front that will add light to West 28th Street in the evening. The building will include a great hall, conference center, and rooftop garden. The 6,381-sf great hall will provide flex space for fashion shows, events, lectures, exhibits, and informal gatherings. The lower-level conference center will be an academic facility for executive studies, seminars, industry training programs, and small business outreach programs.

The West Courtyard Food Pavilion, located between the campus’s David Dubinsky Student Center and the Business and Liberal Arts Center, will include a 17,000-sf student dining facility and an 8,000-sf bookstore on the lower level. The dining hall will open onto the campus, allowing for indoor-outdoor student events. The new bookstore will also be accessible from the street, making it more convenient for the community. The current dining halls on the fifth and sixth floors of the David Dubinsky Student Center will be renovated into academic space.

Additional Phase I projects include the creation of a pedestrian mall and campus commons on West 27th Street, and the extension and subsequent renovation of the Marvin Feldman Center, a primary academic facility. FIT has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts’ New Public Works initiative to fund a design competition for the extension of the Marvin Feldman Center.

Phase II projects, which are expected to exceed $100 million, will take place in years six to 10 of the expansion plan and are under development.

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