Baruch Transforms Post Office Space into New Student CenterThe Aaronson Student Center features new study areas, lounges, and meeting rooms for connecting and building community
November 30, 2021
Baruch College is boasting the opening of its first permanent student center, marking another exciting expansion and renovation project for the campus community.
The Allen G. and Mary E. Aaronson Student Center — located in a previously, rough, unfinished, 5,500 square-foot space within the Madison Square Station, a historic post office building on East 24th Street — has been transformed into a dedicated area to connect and build community. The Center welcomes undergraduates with an open floor plan, large multipurpose area, a lounge and meeting rooms, all with airy high ceilings and colorful furnishings.
“The Aaronson Student Center promises to be a dynamic and energizing new space for students to socialize, study together, and build community,” said Baruch College President S. David Wu. “It also stands as a testament to Allen Aaronson’s inspiring legacy as a generous donor and champion for Baruch. We are proud to see his vision for a space dedicated to student activities fulfilled in this historic Center bearing his name.”
This new campus improvement complements two major projects completed this year and opened with ribbon-cutting ceremonies: 17 Lex Phase 1a renovation and the Clivner=Field Plaza at 25th Street.
In 2017, Baruch acquired rights to the space in the lower level of the post office, signing a 15-year lease agreement with an exclusive option to renew the lease for an additional 15 years. Students enter the space from the south side of 24th Street, across from the main Newman Vertical Campus (NVC) entrance.
Donors and Students Partner to Fund Center
The center is named for the late Allen G. Aaronson (’48) and his wife, Mary. Aaronson was among the College’s most generous benefactors, naming the Allen G. Aaronson Department of Marketing and International Business; establishing the Aaronson Democracy Project; and in 2012 his Aaronson Challenge resulted in the most donors to the Baruch College Fund in its history.
The project was made possible through two funding sources: in addition to Allen G. Aaronson’s generous gift, a majority of the support is provided by an undergraduate Student Building Fund fee, which was originally proposed by Baruch students and then formally instituted by a 2010 CUNY Board of Trustees resolution.
An Historic Building
The three-story, 80,000 square foot post office opened its doors in 1937 and was created by Lorimer Rich, an American architect best known for designing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Its main façade of Dakota Mahogany granite, together with an interior space featuring eight tempera-on-plaster murals entitled “Scenes of New York” (1937-1939), earned the building a coveted spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
Today the Madison Square Station Post Office remains a popular tourist destination, with visitors wowed by the Art Deco exterior and Kindred McLeary murals, which were commissioned by the Treasury Department and depict scenes of everyday life in iconic Manhattan neighborhoods.
More Information about the Center: Hours of Operation, How to Book Space
The Center is currently open from 9:30am-4:00pm. The Office of Student Life is operating a reservation system through Navigate through which undergraduate students can book one of three, 90-minute time slots. The Center is closed between those slots for deep cleaning.
New Spaces Around Campus
The Aaronson Center is the latest student-centered space to be unveiled over the last year.
In January, the first phase of an historic renovation of the Lawrence & Eris Field Building at 17 Lex was completed, including a redesign of the façade and lobby and a brand new student lounge on the second floor.
In October, the Baruch community gathered to celebrate the official opening of the Clivner=Field Plaza at East 25th Street, a much-needed open green space that helps to define the College’s urban campus and serves as a hub for student life.
All told, the College opened nearly 33,000 square feet of new space for student use in 2021.