Dear Barnard Community,

We are excited to share updates on our two key construction projects that will dramatically transform our campus facilities and create new spaces for students, faculty, and staff.

In the coming months you’ll start seeing preliminary mobilization work on the new Francine A. LeFrak Foundation Center for Well-Being in Barnard Hall. This new physical space will not only bring together programs for physical, mental, and financial well-being for the entire campus community, it will also expand and enhance physical fitness spaces in Barnard Hall — including a new 4,000-square-feet fitness center that will be open to students, faculty, and staff; shared spaces and meeting rooms that can be used for events, seminars, and programming; and new locker rooms and gender-inclusive facilities. In addition, the former swimming pool on the lower level will be transformed into the Ethel S. LeFrak ’41 and Samuel J. LeFrak Theatre, a flexible +/- 225-seat venue for classes, performances, and events that will enhance and expand opportunities for our community. We are targeting a phased opening in late 2023 and early 2024.

Preliminary work on the second project, the construction of the Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center, is expected to start in early 2024. This project, which will renovate and expand the existing Altschul Hall into a state-of-the-art science facility, will help elevate the College as a leader in preparing young women and underrepresented voices for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. This dedicated building for the sciences will transform and extend our existing science spaces with contiguous teaching classrooms and labs that will enhance our curriculum’s integrated research experiences as well as a Community Science Center where we will host science workshops for New York City children, create engaging and interactive exhibits, and house Barnard programs such as Science in the City, Math and the City, and STEAM in the City. We expect the R&D Vagelos Science Center to open in late 2025 or early 2026.

While we are excited about these two projects, we also know that construction on campus can be disruptive and inconvenient at times. Those of you who were at Barnard during the construction of the Milstein Center will remember that we had a robust communications plan that included weekly email updates, meetings, and fun events that provided information and celebrated the different stages of construction, and a dedicated email for you to use to ask questions or voice concerns. Today, we are launching a similar communications program for these new construction projects: Barnard Builds.

Over the coming weeks, you’ll start receiving Barnard Builds updates with information on the Francine LeFrak Center project, including the timing and safety measures in place for early abatement and demolition work that will prepare the site for construction. For now, you can visit the Barnard Builds website for more information and/or email with questions and concerns. We also will be holding meetings with faculty, staff, and students over the next few weeks where you can learn more about the Francine LeFrak Center vision, mission, and programming from our VP of Health and Wellness/Chief Health Officer, Marina Catallozzi, M.D., MSCE, and construction information and timelines from the Capital Projects team under the leadership of Associate Vice President of Capital Projects Laura O’Connell. Watch your email and the College’s newsletters for the dates of these upcoming meetings. We will start sharing updates on the R&D Vagelos Science Center as we move into next year. We will also be sharing updates with members of the community who live near campus.

We look forward to sharing more details on a regular basis as our planning continues, and we thank you in advance for your patience as we embark on these transformative projects.


Jennifer Fondiller

Vice President of Enrollment and Communications


Laura O’Connell

Associate Vice President of Capital Projects