Thomas Hunter Hall renovations will bring new clubs and common spaces

The 2nd floor entrance to Thomas Hunter Hall, currently closed for construction
The 2nd floor entrance to Thomas Hunter Hall, currently closed for construction.
Photo by Maryelin Ramos

At the student government’s request, the college is dedicating $250,000 in student fees toward building a new student union on the second floor of Thomas Hunter Hall. When finished in July 2019, it will include student government and student media offices and a space for club meetings. There will also be a new shared space similar to the Brookdale game room for students to spend time in between their classes and to hang out with their peers.

The construction, which began this past summer, was made possible with CUNY funds and money raised through private giving, according to a spokesperson for the college. As part of the CUNY Five-Year Capital Plan for construction projects, the college will spend $1.5 million on the heating and air conditioning system at Thomas Hunter, and $21 million on Thomas Hunter infrastructure upgrades between now and 2023.

“The USG had wanted to create a space for students to hang out on campus that is separate from the library,” said Phuong Vo, the external affairs commissioner for the USG. “So then we worked with administration and ultimately planned to create this space, which is now called the Student Union.”

The Student Union will also be the new home of student-related offices such as the College Association, the Office of Student Activities, the Student Resource Center. Thomas Hunter also includes dance studios on the sixth floor, which recently underwent replacement of their floors, as well as a Multifaith Center that houses the Muslim Student Association, Hillel, Hindu Student Association, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Korea Campus Crusade for Christ, and the Sikh Student Association.

“Making sure that students have adequate space to study and socialize on campus is one of our top priorities, and we have invested heavily in enhancing Hunter’s facilities,” said a spokesperson for the college. The building, which was named after the college’s founding president, Thomas Hunter, was built in 1927 and has undergone construction before for the windows and the roof, according to the facilities management and planning page on the college website.

According to CUNY capital projects information online, this renovation is a part of a 2012-2020 strategic plan that totals nearly $300 million to help fix up many buildings and learning centers at Hunter, such as the main campus library; science, math and writing tutoring centers; a lecture hall; and a new location for the science programs that are currently in the Brookdale campus. The new science program will be moved to a new building on 68th Street. Thomas Hunter Hall’s second floor, which connects students to the North Building, is currently closed and will be for the rest of the school year, according to the college website. Students must exit the building and walk on the street to get to their other classes.

This isn’t the only renovation currently happening at the school: the cafeteria and the elevators in Hunter West are also closed for repairs. However, the cafeteria should be open with an interim vendor in the near future.

“The previous vendor notified us that it would be closing out its relationship with Hunter College with very short notice, so we moved quickly to identify a new partner,” said a spokesperson for the college. “We didn’t want to leave students relying solely on the third-floor Bridge Café for internal dining options in the meantime, so we made it a huge priority to identify an interim vendor over the summer.”

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