East Quad to get new trees, plantings, and infrastructure improvements aimed at building on the historic character of the college’s most iconic space.

Taking advantage of fewer people on campus and using funding from New York City and New York State, Brooklyn College is embarking on the first phase of a planned rebirth of its historic East Quad, framed by the library, Ingersoll Hall, and Boylan Hall.

“This project’s design will preserve the historic character of the East Quad while updating and upgrading the infrastructure and increasing sustainability,” said Alan Gilbert, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration. “We are extremely excited about this project, and we look forward to engaging the community more as we look for support to write this important next chapter of the Brooklyn College story.”

Approximately a quarter of the East Quad has been fenced off as repairs to the underground service tunnels that date back to the college’s opening in the 1930s have begun. Serving as the underground “engine” for the campus, these tunnels house the college’s utilities, including electrical conduits, steam lines, plumbing, and information technology equipment. The underground renovations are expected to be completed by the end of the fall semester.

The entire cost of the East Quad Renovation Project is estimated at $30 million. This first phase will cost approximately $5.7 million. The second and third phases of this historic restoration are expected to start by 2022 and will be completed gradually over approximately five years.

Specifically, Brooklyn College will replace nine of the campus’ original Siberian elms and other trees with approximately 20 healthier and more disease-resistant American elms. The Siberian elms—which also date back to the 1930s—have reached the end of their life cycle, and their roots are threatening subsurface utilities and causing other major issues. Siberian elms typically have a lifespan of 100 to 150 years, while American elms can survive anywhere from 200 to 300 years and are more adept at handling rising summer temperatures.

Once the old trees are removed, the wood will be repurposed and used across campus, possibly for furniture, wall paneling, or decorative installations. This second major phase is planned in two stages, with half the East Quad being done at one time.

The third phase will include:

  • rebuilding green spaces around the East Quad with new, native plantings, including a lush, redesigned entrance at Bedford Avenue; adding LED lighting and seating; and
  • designing the pavement and adding new ADA-compliant ramps more integral to the entire Quad at the entrances to Boylan and Ingersoll halls.