Fordham Unveils New Classrooms in Leon Lowenstein Center

The classroom suite is the result of an expedited construction project that is equipped with technology suited to support hybrid learning


The TVs, whiteboards, projector and configurable chair setup all allow for the new classrooms to serve any purpose.

Six new classrooms opened for use by Fordham students and faculty on Sept. 27. The classrooms are located on the sublevel of the Leon Lowenstein Center in a space that was part of the original Quinn Library before it was relocated to the 140 West 62nd Street Building. 

Joseph Scaltro, director of engineering services, said the decision to convert the space into a classroom suite was made to accommodate the historic class size of incoming students at Fordham Lincoln Center. 

“Adequate classroom space is always a challenge at LC (Lincoln Center). With the larger incoming class, the need for more classrooms with better AV (audiovisual) technology became a priority,” Scaltro said. 

Construction for the Lowenstein classroom suite began on June 4 and was 98% complete as of Sept. 24. The project included building six classrooms, equipping them with safety systems and converting the hallway space into a lounge area for students. 

Scaltro said the project was a success, despite setbacks due to the ongoing pandemic. 

“Everything was a complication with Covid,” Scaltro said. “Vendors do not stock anything. Getting all the building materials, light fixtures and furniture in a 14-week time frame was amazing.” 

one of the classrooms entrances between lowenstein and mcmahon hall
One of the entrances to the new wing is in the hallway that connects Lowenstein to McMahon Hall. (ANDREW DRESSNER)

While the classrooms are suited for any type of class at the university, they are equipped with AV systems to support hybrid learning. These systems include a camera and screen located at the rear of the classroom that are meant to provide a better experience for those attending class virtually. 

Scaltro noted the systems will serve as a trial run to see if the technology serves the university needs, as equipping classrooms with these AV components poses a significant cost. 

The scheduling process for these classrooms will remain the same as scheduling of other classrooms on campus. However, Laura Auricchio, dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), said that meeting technological needs of students and faculty will be a determining factor in regard to scheduling. 

“We need the support now as teachers have students who have to quarantine and miss class.” Katie Curran, FCLC ’23

“As with all classrooms, there are many factors that go into scheduling priority,” Auricchio said. “Course enrollment size is a main factor, but we also need to consider the technology needs of a professor and special needs of a professor or student.” 

Auricchio added that there is no designated departmental priority for the new classrooms, so the rooms may be scheduled for any course offered by any school or department.

Many Fordham students are excited about the new classrooms. Katie Curran, FCLC ’23, said she is happy to see Fordham making an effort to support hybrid learning, especially given the pandemic. 

“I think it’s good that Fordham is working to support hybrid learning,” Curran said. “We need the support now as teachers have students who have to quarantine and miss class.” 

“I think it would be great if they (the university) were able to accomodate students with visual or auditory impairments.” Meg Schanes, FCLC ’23

Meg Schanes, FCLC ’23, also expressed appreciation for the classrooms’ AV components, though she said she would rather see Fordham utilize these systems to make classrooms more accessible. 

“When I heard ‘audiovisual’ I was thinking of it from more of an accessibility standpoint. I think I would be more excited and interested if it was for that reason, because I think it would be great if they (the university) were able to accomodate students with visual or auditory impairments,” Schanes said. 

Construction of the classroom suite was expected to be completed on Sept. 27, though Scaltro said final AV components and furnishing for the student lounge will be finished closer to Thanksgiving break.