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Columbia Breaks Ground on 14-Story Graduate Center

By Nigel Chiwaya | September 17, 2013 12:34pm
 Officials marked the start of construction on the 14-story Medical and Graduate Education Center.
Columbia Breaks Ground on Haven Ave Tower
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WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Columbia University marked breaking ground on its 14-story university tower in Washington Heights with a ceremony Monday night.

Officials hailed the 100,000-square-foot glass Medical and Graduate Education Center — which will be erected on existing university property at 104 Haven Ave. — as a boon for the university.

"It's a spectacular new building that will be the hub for medical and graduate students at Columbia," Columbia University Medical Center Dean Lee Goldman said.

"It will be iconic in itself," added Columbia president Lee Bollinger. "It will define this campus and it will define Columbia."

When completed, the tower will offer a virtual simulation-training space for students, a 300-seat auditorium and a courtyard with views of the Hudson River, university officials said.

The center, which was announced in 2012 and approved by the university's trustees in June, was made possible by a $50 million donation by Columbia alumni P. Roy and Diana Vagelos in September 2010.

Work on the tower started in August, and the building is expected to open in 2016. Residents can visit a special Columbia website to get updates on the progress of construction.