University Rising: Queensborough Community College Science Building Atrium

The courtyard of Queensborough Community College’s U-shaped Science Building used to be a pleasant if unremarkable spot with a few picnic tables and benches where students could hang out when the weather was fine. But now it’s being transformed into something else entirely — a bright and airy atrium – complete with tropical flora – that will give the college an inviting and much-needed indoor dining space and is destined to be one of the campus’s most popular gathering spots.

The first phase of the project, completed last summer, featured the installation of a transparent roof with ceiling fans. A new floor was installed and the space was furnished with rows of new tables and chairs. (The roof is made of an eco-friendly material called ETFE film, a durable plastic that transmits more light than glass, costs far less to install and is self-cleaning.)

Meanwhile, the lobby and restrooms serving the Science Building’s two auditoriums were renovated and a new elevator was installed to improve access to the building’s upper floors.

The second phase of the project, set to begin early next year, will totally enclose the courtyard by adding a wall and doors to the south side of the building. In addition, the existing basement dining room will be replaced by a new kitchen. Once completed, the atrium will be a climate controlled environment, providing the college community with a year-round dining spot that can also be used to host events for up to 300 people.