The Pace of Change

Lower Manhattan’s Pace University, held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday to unveil the recently completed first phase of a multi-year plan to upgrade its campus: the extensive modernization to its signature Downtown structure, One Pace Plaza (built in 1969), and the adjacent historic structure, 41 Park Row (which dates from 1857).

The renovation, which began in 2017, has transformed a campus that takes up multiple square blocks and occupies the site of the former New York Tribune building, in which Pace was founded in 1906, during an era when Park Row was a district of newspaper offices.
The revitalized structures include classrooms, lecture halls, and event spaces. Other amenities include a new 1,700-square-foot art gallery, and a new entrance to 41 Park Row on Spruce Street, which incorporates 8,520 pounds of decorative stone. The project restored a long-vanished entrance on the Spruce Street side of the landmarked building, which served as the original headquarters of the New York Times.

One Pace Plaza, built in the Brutalist style that was popular in the late 1960s, has often been criticized as an unwelcoming face for the University.
“We’re bold and big thinkers at Pace University,” said Mark M. Besca, chairman of Pace’s board of trustees. “As we’re moving into the new, digital frontiers of artificial intelligence and big data, it’s clear that the tech companies transforming the world will need the talented professionals that Pace produces. With these new facilities, we’re ready to help drive New York into the next century.”

The ongoing transformation of Pace’s Lower Manhattan campus will open up the closed facade of the structure.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer observed that, “this brand new space opens up new possibilities for students and faculty to collaborate and for all New Yorkers to benefit.” She also noted that the new spaces provide venues for Pace to host public educational events, discussions and debates. Part of the rationale for Pace’s $190-million renovation project has been to forge a greater connection between students more and the Lower Manhattan community.

(left to right) Nira Herrmann, Ph.D. Dean, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Pace University; Xiao-Lei Wang, Ph.D. Acting Dean and Professor, School of Education, Pace University; Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, Marvin Krislov, J.D., President, Pace University; Mark M. Besca, Chairman Board of Trustees, Pace University; Vanya Quinones, Provost, EVP-Academic Affairs, Pace University; Ibi Yolas, Vice President, Facilities, Capital Projects, Pace University; Joseph Colella, Pace Student Government; Association President, Marijo L. Russell-O’Grady, Ph.D. Associate Vice President and Dean for Students,NY, Student Affairs, Pace University; Jonathan H. Hill, DPS, Dean,  Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Pace University; Neil S. Braun, Dean, Lubin School of Business, Pace University;  Harriet R. Feldman, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., Dean College of Health Professions, Pace University
Pace University has also been on a building spree of another sort in recent years: In 2015, it opened the tallest college residence hall anywhere in the world — a 34-story facility located at the corner of Beekman and William Streets. This followed the 2013 ribbon cutting for a 23-floor dormitory located at 182 Broadway, near the corner of John Street.

Pace has funded the campus renovation project, in part, with proceeds from the 2016 sale of another student housing facility, a 15-story former office building at 106 Fulton Street that the University bought and converted into dorm rooms in 1999. This transaction brought in more than $60 million.

In addition, classrooms, meeting rooms, collaborative study areas, event spaces, a new student center and administrative offices for the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and the Lubin School of Business were also created. The lower level has been redesigned creating a new student lounge space and a learning lab
The number of students enrolled at Pace’s campus in Lower Manhattan has expanded. The increased headcount appears to be driven, at least in part, by Lower Manhattan’s soaring reputation as a desirable place to live, work, and study. The influx of undergraduates, combined with the availability of dormitory space, has also transformed Pace from an erstwhile commuter college into one that draws students from around the nation and the world.

But Pace’s appeal for college-bound young people is also rooted in its academic stature.  Princeton Review ranks Pace as one of the best colleges in the Northeast, while U.S. News & World Report rates its environmental law program as third in the nation, and the Hollywood Reporter lists Pace’s undergraduate and graduate performing arts programs among the 25 best in the world. Pace is ranked the #1 private, four-year college in the nation for upward economic mobility by Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights.
At the ribbon cutting, dancers from the Pace School of Performing Arts, Commercial Dance BFA program dazzled the crowd.
Surveying the huge crowd, Marijo Russell O’Grady, the Associate VP and Dean for Students on the NYC Campus said, “Today is long awaited, it’s exciting and outstanding. It really knocks me out! It is amazing to be here with our Pace Family in our new spaces at 1 Pace Plaza and 41 Park Row.
I am so proud, as would Homer St. Clair Pace and Charles Ashford Pace, (and likely Ben Franklin) that the space and face of Pace is all about students, and for students, as we prepare global leaders for the ever changing world of work.”

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