The New Qiantan Campus – Progress and Student Views

“The exterior will be completed by the end of December. The fit-out is proceeding well and should be completed this coming spring, in time to commence the final inspections before summer-move-in,” he said

As construction continues, students in the Academic Building (AB) on Century Avenue are wondering what the future holds for them at the new campus.

NYU Shanghai students know the new building is underway but not all believe they have a full understanding of how it will affect them, including its location, residential arrangements, and its proximity to companies for internship opportunities. 

“I worry about how far this campus is from Lujiazui,” said sophomore, Derico Dehnielshen. 

In contrast to the Century Avenue location, a major transportation hub connecting as many as four of the 18 metro lines in Shanghai, the new campus has only two metro lines connecting to the city center. 

At around 400m from the Oriental Sport Center metro station, which is the end of Line 6, the new campus is most accessible by Line 6 from Century Avenue. 

For further comparison, the AB is only 4km away from Lujiazui Financial District and within a 15-minute drive in off-peak hours as opposed to Qiantan, which is some 12km south of Lujiazui. 

Business students especially, are worried about the new location, given that most business and financial companies are located in Lujiazui. Being closer to Lujiazui translates to more internship opportunities, they say.

“I think it would be time-consuming for students interning at Lujiazui to commute to and from the new campus,” said Riven Wu, a junior from Beijing, studying business and finance.

“I have plans to get an internship in Shanghai during my senior year, but I am not sure how things would be like at the new campus.” 

Students are naturally interested in the planned residential arrangements and are not clear on whether they will stay in the same residential halls of Jinqiao, Jinyang and Pusan. 

“I’m not sure if there will be new residential halls near the new campus. But if we were to continue to stay in Pusan, it would take a long time to travel to school everyday, even with the shuttle bus service,” said Susie Yi, a student residing at Pusan.

Despite not having the best design and space of an average university, students agree the AB is strategically located near the financial district, Lujiazui and within walking distance from the well connected Century Avenue metro station. They say mobility and convenience are sufficient trade-offs for the limited campus experience.

Millie Tiwatmuncharoen, Class of 2023, thinks that the best feature of the AB is its location, like its biking distance from the dorms and proximity to metro stations. “Overall, a great location to be in the centre of Shanghai,” she said.   

But as for its user-friendly qualities, Junior student, Kate Praewploy, said while its small size is easy to navigate, “the elevator that goes to the 15th floor is inconvenient for students wanting to go from lower to upper floors.” 

Also, the inadequate study areas in and around the AB campus continue to be frustrating for students. The table hogging culture seems to be more prevalent and on one day recently in the library during midterm week, the table occupancy rate was near 100%. 

The new campus hopes to address some of these issues.

What Does the New Campus Offer? 

The new campus has a quad design and occupies a total of 115,000 square meters, with four interlinked structures around a 9,000 square meter central courtyard.

The new campus would represent an upgrade of current facilities in the AB. With the capacity to accommodate up to 4,000 undergraduates, it will ease the study area crisis. 

There will also be a two-story reading room, and approximately 3,500 square meters of common space spread across the 10-story building for students to study and chill in, an article recently published by the university about the interior design and new facilities showed. 

“The new campus will be almost twice as large as the Academic Building,” said Vice Chancellor Lehman. 

“The interior will include much more community space, more and larger classrooms, a larger and more comfortable library, performance spaces, athletic spaces, etc. The exterior will feature a larger green quadrangle and an iconic 100-year-old tree,” he said.

Is Qiantan Better Than Century Avenue?

Some students also see benefits in moving to Qiantan.

While Pudong is known as a business district with some of the most iconic buildings in Shanghai, students noted that the new campus area is closer to the traditional and cultural city center, Puxi. 

Known as Shanghai’s “second Lujiazui,” students who have visited the Qiantan campus said the location was not as bad as it was rumoured. 

Jacky Huang, Class of 2023, looks forward to the move to Qiantan, hailing its “walkability” as a district compared to Century Avenue’s wide roads and heavy traffic. He noted that Qiantan, despite being further away from the city centre, is actually only a few stations away from Puxi, which he thinks is a much more liveable area compared to Pudong district. 

“Qiantan is a developing area. Although losing on its location, I think students will enjoy the new campus more because it’s less developed than Century Avenue and also has the sense of a close-knit community, as well as the older Shanghai culture stemming from Puxi”, he added.

The new campus is scheduled to be in operation starting next academic year but seniors who are graduating will not make the move to experience the new environs. Some seniors expressed mixed feelings about losing the legacy of their academic years.

While they’re happy that NYU Shanghai is expanding, there’s also a sense of relief they don’t have to go through the hassle of relocating before graduation.

“I won’t necessarily miss the AB, but I’d miss how close our campus is to Century Avenue metro station because it’s so convenient. I do have a sense of missing out on the new campus, but I’m also okay with staying at the AB as I already got used to it,” said a senior, Norman Dong.

“Given the AB is in the heart of Shanghai, it would feel like home to me if I work at Lujiazui in the future,” said Senior Kaycee Chen. “Even if I no longer have access to the AB, it would be nice to revisit if it’s on Century Avenue.”

Senior Astrid Matute was thinking even further into the future.

“When I’m older I want to show my kids where I studied but it won’t exist anymore,” she said. 

“The new freshmen won’t know of the terror in Tower 2 back in Jinqiao. But it’s great for the school to just become bigger and have a better environment than it already is. I’m happy, sad and mad at the same time,” Astrid said.

On a side note, “the AB will be returned to its owner, the Lujiazui Group, for them to use as they see fit,” said Vice Chancellor Lehman.

Author: Ryan Chin

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