Columbia Opens Residence Halls to Doctors and Healthcare Workers

The entrance of 47 Claremont with two cement columns on either side of the door and a brick facade beginning on the second floor.

In support to the frontline workers of New York City hospitals and clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbia University opened five residence halls to doctors and other healthcare workers so they can avoid long commutes and the risk of infecting others.  

Columbia made available a total of 505 housing units to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital staff across the Morningside and Irving Medical Center campuses. Watt Hall and Woodbridge Hall at the Morningside campus and Bard Hall at the Irving Medical Center campus opened in late March.  Two more residence halls in Hogan Hall and 47 Claremont opened in April to accommodate additional healthcare workers. 

Columbia Public Safety provided around-the-clock access to these buildings. Regular custodial and maintenance services were provided in the common areas—corridors, stairwells, elevators—garbage and recycling removal occurred at central collection areas, and rooms were cleaned when occupants turned over.

The Columbia Transportation intercampus shuttle bus transported staff to and from buildings in Morningside Heights and the hospital in Washington Heights. Three shuttles operated on a regular academic year schedule from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week, including holidays. 

“We are honored to support our healthcare professionals in any way we can as they lead us through this extraordinary time,” said Scott Wright, Vice President of Campus Services at the Morningside campus. “As we watch the crisis impact all of our hospital workers, we hope these spaces will help provide some relief from the day to day stressors of their frontline work.”

Added Diana Mejia, Assistant Vice President of Campus Operations and Housing Services at the Medical Center, “Bard Hall is a very symbolic part of the medical school journey here at CUIMC. It seems especially fitting that we are able to use this residence hall to support our courageous colleagues on the frontlines at NewYork-Presbyterian.”