This is a section of Cooper Union's Financial FAQ. Click here to read the rest of the document.
- What is Cooper doing to maximize its space utilization in the two academic buildings, 41 Cooper Square and the Foundation building?
- Why does Cooper rent office space at 30 Cooper Square?
- Why not relocate offices to the new 51 Astor Place building?
- Why does Cooper own a student dormitory, and does it generate revenue? Is it in use during the summer? Can it be repurposed as office space, or rented to non-Cooper tenants, or sold?
- Why does Cooper Union own the Stuyvesant Fish House and how is it used?
In Fall 2012, Cooper will begin to systematically assess its use of space through implementation of a software application for scheduling classes and events.
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Cooper spends approximately $980K to occupy six floors at 30 Cooper Square for administrative offices (including Admissions and Records, Alumni Relations, Business Office, Continuing Education, Design Center, Development, Office Services, Outreach Program, Public Affairs, Saturday Program and Student Services). The lease term was extended for one year to expire in June 2013. The building owner is currently charging Cooper a below-market rate of approximately $22 per square foot. The Finance Office is examining future needs and potential savings through space consolidation.
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The rent is too high. Cooper Union does not own the building being erected at 51 Astor Place; the institution completed a long-term lease for the land to the developer. By contract, Cooper has the right of first refusal to lease space currently at approximately $65 a square foot – more than double what Cooper paid in 2012 at 30 Cooper Square (where administrative offices are located). Although a certain percentage of space at 51 Astor is designated for academic purposes, the owner of the building can rent the space to any academic institution.
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Cooper’s Student Residence, which opened in 1992, accommodates 178 students. Rents (less than $10,000 for double-occupancy rooms for the academic year for Cooper students) are comparable to those offered by neighboring schools; the dorm is rented during the summer to law-school students doing internships in New York City. Revenues from the dorm cover operational expenses. Housing priority is given to freshmen who are encouraged to live on campus to maximize their first-year educational and social experience. For more information, go to: http://cooper.edu/students/housing/residence. As for possible non-dormitory uses for the building, or sale of the building, the leadership of The Cooper Union would need to make a decision about the relative importance of being able to offer housing “on campus” for entering students.
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The Stuyvesant Fish House (SFH) was given as a gift to The Cooper Union in 1997 by F. Phillip Geraci, who bought it when it was a rooming house and restored it. Geraci recently commented that his intent was to see this landmarked building preserved by The Cooper Union, and not converted for condominiums, which he could have done if he had sought greater returns. The SFH is used for institutional events and is the residence of the president. It is considered best practice for colleges and universities to have an intimate venue for the cultivation of donors and meetings with dignitaries. Many guests who have attended events at SFH have become financial supporters of Cooper. Under the agreement with the Geraci family, Cooper Union pays the previous owner an “annuity” of approximately $175,000 annually during the donor’s lifetime. Annuities are offered by non-profits as a standard practice in planned giving, in order to encourage gifts during a donor’s lifetime. The house was designated a New York City landmark in 1965, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975. It also lies within the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission's St. Mark's Historic District which surrounds the nearby St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery. Due to its landmark status, there are restrictions on potential alterations to the building. The Stuyvesant-Fish house was built in 1803 by Petrus Stuyvesant, the great-grandson of Peter Stuyvesant. Petrus gave the house to his daughter, Elizabeth, as a wedding present when she married Nicholas Fish, a Revolutionary War hero and a political ally of Alexander Hamilton. It is one of the oldest houses in the Village.
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