Columbia Selects Construction Firm To Help Guide Proposed Expansion Process

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Minority-owned McKissack Group to Fill Key Role in Future Growth


New York, May 9, 2007—Columbia University has selected Bovis Lend Lease as the lead construction management firm and the McKissack Group as a core team member for the preparation, approval process and construction of the first phase of Columbia's proposed expansion in the Manhattanville section of West Harlem.

"After an extensive review process, we have selected two of the nation's leading construction management firms to help us in the next steps of the proposed long-term expansion of our urban academic community," University President Lee C. Bollinger said. "Bovis brings significant experience not only with large-scale projects but also with the inclusion of minority-, women- and locally-owned businesses as part of their team. McKissack, the oldest minority-owned construction firm in the country, has a strong track record in higher education projects. Their unique role in the planning and potential construction of part of the first phase in Columbia's proposed expansion will be used as a benchmark in a comprehensive approach to the participation of minority, women and local businesses in major development efforts."

It is important to note that the proposed expansion plans have not yet received the relevant public approvals, but having a construction management firm on board is a necessary first step in the public approval process for such a significant proposal, according to Columbia's vice president for Manhattanville development, Philip Pitruzzello.

"It was critical that Columbia move forward with the selection of a construction manager for the earliest stages of such a complex project. Bovis and McKissack will help with preconstruction services including site logistics, planning, estimating, scheduling and environmental impact analysis," Pitruzzello said. "They are integral members of our team, and from my previous experience working on major construction projects, I know how important it is to have their expertise involved during the planning and public approval stage of a development of this scale."

Cheryl McKissack, president and chief executive officer of the McKissack Group, said that she is "proud to play such a critical role in the continued growth of Upper Manhattan as a world center for higher education." Noting that her company has worked in partnership with Bovis in the past, she said that Columbia's commitment to a strong minority, women and local presence in both the construction and employment market sends a powerful message to others. "It is important for institutions like Columbia to set an example in their commitment to minority- and women-owned enterprises. Together, we can create new opportunities for many in the local community, and everyone can share the benefits of growth in the decades ahead."

It is the intent of Bovis Lend Lease, along with the McKissack Group, to attract, assist and facilitate minority, women and local business enterprises as well as community residents seeking construction-related employment to participate in all phases of the Manhattanville project," said Peter A. Marchetto, chief executive officer of Bovis Lend Lease. Marchetto pointed out that Bovis and McKissack will assist M/W/LBE participants in order for them to gain the necessary experience and understanding of Columbia University's construction requirements and project administrative process, and at the same time, increase their future business and bid opportunities through the program's curriculum.

 The site of the proposed expansion of university facilities is a 17-acre area just north of Columbia's historic Morningside Heights campus and consists primarily of the four large blocks from 129th to 133rd Streets between Broadway and 12th Avenue, including the north side of 125th Street. The new facilities would also include three properties on the east side of Broadway from 131st to 134th Streets. The majority of the construction in the initial phase of the project will occur on the block bounded by 129th and 125th Streets on the south and 130th Street on the north, between 12th Avenue and Broadway. The scope of work slated for this block includes construction of three new buildings: the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, Columbia Business School and an academic mixed-use facility known as the Lantern Building.

Columbia projects that the expansion in Manhattanville will create 6,000 new university jobs, as well as an average of 1,200 construction jobs per year for nearly a quarter century. The university has a strong record of employing community residents with a wide range of skills and experience in the workforce, as well as the engagement of minority-, women- and locally owned contractors. For example, in 2006, Columbia contracted more than $65 million in construction, repair, and maintenance services with minority-, women- or locally owned firms, representing more than one-third of university spending on these services.