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17 Lex urgently requires a makeover

Jumaane Millette

Baruch College’s Lawrence and Eris Field Building was built in 1929 and discussions of refurbishing it first arose back in 1986. However, anything resembling a renovation of 17 Lex—as the building is often called—had not occurred until recent years. More renovations desperately need to be done to make the building more accommodating to its students.

From 2017 to 2021, 17 Lex was under construction to upgrade the entryway, elevators and numerous mechanical functions. It was a 109-million-dollar project and phase one of a proposed six-phase plan. Since 2021, however, nothing new has been completed. Phase two is currently underway as of January 2024.

Even though a plan was created, not enough has been done to adapt to a modernized education system. Phase one provided a facelift that made the building more attractive from the street, but the equipment in classrooms has become troublesome, unreliable and outdated. So much so that many aspects of the building feel as though they’ve been neglected since its initial construction.

For example, some classrooms require teachers to use dirty, beaten-up chalkboards, which was phased out before most of Baruch’s younger students were in kindergarten.

Another issue is the spotty Wi-Fi. If the bulk of student learning relies on the internet, then consistent Wi-Fi is integral in the learning process. Yet that is not something readily available in 17 Lex. Class participation becomes difficult and frustrating if students and teachers have trouble connecting to the internet.

Students sit at desks that predate their parents, many of which are broken or dangerously wobbly. Moreover, mouse and cockroach traps have been scattered around the building, and occasional reports from students and professors signify that this may be a losing battle.

Most of all, the building continued to prove itself unreliable. The first day of classes for the spring semester in 17 Lex was canceled due to an unforeseen power outage.

This may have delighted a few by extending winter break a day, but it was inopportune, nonetheless. While classes can get canceled and learning halted, it shouldn’t be because of the lack of dependability on one of the school’s most needed buildings.

While thousands of students and staff continue using the Lawrence and Eris Field building daily, it is evident that renovations need to happen as soon as possible. With the plan for renewal underway, there needs to be a sense of urgency. Otherwise, the building’s tiled floors will continue to crack, elevators will continue to malfunction and the building will pass the point of salvage.

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Jumaane Millette
Jumaane Millette, Photography Editor
Jumaane Millette is the Photography Editor for The Ticker.
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