Columbia University Irving Medical Center: Construction Chronology, 1925-present

Significant dates in the construction of the physical plant of the Medical Center. This does not include interior reconfiguration of previously existing spaces nor does it include renovations or very minor physical additions.

1930s   1940s   1950s   1960s  1970s  1980s   1990s    2000s  2010s

1925 Jan. 31

Groundbreaking for what will be called the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center

1927 Sept. 17

Laying of cornerstone for the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

  Oct. 19

Groundbreaking for Neurological Institute.

  Dec. Construction begins on Babies Hospital.
1928 Feb. 1

John Bush, Superintendent of Presbyterian Hospital, first occupant of the new Medical Center.

  Mar. 1

Maxwell Hall, the School of Nursing building, ready for occupancy.

  Mar. 16

“Opening Day” allows public to view buildings before admission of patients.

  Mar. 26

Moving Day; Medical Center admits first patients.

  June 4

Sloane Hospital opens.


Vanderbilt Clinic moves to Medical Center.

  Oct. 12

Formal dedication of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.

1929 Mar. 16

Neurological Institute dedicated; first patients admitted following day.

  June 25

Babies Hospital opens.

  Dec. New York State Psychiatric Institute opens.
1930 Sept.

Construction commences on Bard Hall, the first medical school dormitory.

1931 July

Construction begins on Eye Institute.


Bard Hall opens.

1933 Jan.

Eye Institute opens, Jan. 10; admits first patient, Jan. 16.

1935 July

Construction begins on 3 story addition to Harkness Pavilion as well as a 3 story service building immediately to the north of Harkness to house radiology and therapy services. Both additions are finished by summer, 1936.

1937 Oct. 1

Mary Harkness Convalescent Home opens in Port Chester, N.Y.


Ten floors added to the P & S building to provide new laboratories and quarters for the Crocker Institute for Cancer Research.

  Apr. 25

Construction begins on Washington Heights Health Center Building, New York City Dept. of Health, at the corner of W. 168th St. and Broadway (600 West 168th St.)

  July 19

Presbyterian acquires South Property between W. 165th and W. 163rd Sts., Fort Washington Avenue and Riverside Drive. It includes the buildings of the New York School for the Deaf (originally New York Deaf & Dumb Asylum).

1939 Aug. Washington Heights Health Center building opens.

Work begins on Florence Nightingale Hospital (later named Francis Delafield Hospital) on Ft. Washington Ave. at W. 164th St.; construction ceases during World War II.

1945 July 5

Construction begins on two wings to Maxwell Hall; cornerstone-laying on Dec. 20; completed Aug. 1946.

1947 Apr. 8

Cornerstone-laying for Edward S. Harkness Memorial Hall, a residence for graduate nurses.

  Nov. 10 Edward S. Harkness Memorial Hall, located at the corner of W. 165th St. and Riverside Dr., is dedicated
1948 Sept. 21 Cornerstone laying for Francis Delafield Hospital.  A municipal hospital for cancer patients, Delafield's professional staff was appointed by Columbia University.
1949 Sept. 20 Work begins on five additional floors for the Vanderbilt Clinic to house clinics, offices and Columbia’s newly established Institute of Cancer Research; use of the floors begins in September 1950.
1950   Expansion of Hospital Personnel Cafeteria and X-Ray facilities.
  Aug. 30 Francis Delafield Hospital dedicated.
1952 Jun. 25 Pauline A. Hartford Memorial Chapel dedicated.
  Oct. 7

Strong Memorial Wing at Mary Harkness Convalescent Home, Port Chester, NY, dedicated.

1954 Aug.

Construction begins on Betatron Unit building.

1955 Sept. Betatron Unit opens.
1958   Neurological Institute adds 14 story elevator tower on west side of building and 2 story addition on north side.
1960 Nov. 30 Ground broken for Central Services Building on West 165th St.
1962 Feb. 5 Groundbreaking for William Black Medical Research Building and Alumni Auditorium.
  March? Georgian Building, 617 W. 168th St. purchased by Presbyterian Hospital.
  Oct. Central Services Building opens.
1963 Aug. 26 Black Building tops out.
  Summer-Fall Demolition of former New York School for the Deaf buildings on South Property.
1965 Feb South Property Parking Garage, West 165th & Fort Washington Avenue, opens.
  ca. March Radiotherapy Center building, located near Betatron building, is begun.
  May 1 Alumni Auditorium dedicated.
  Sept. 7 Black Building opens.
1966 Jan. Construction begins on Babies Hospital South (first four floors only) and Dana Atchley Pavilion. Hospital greenhouses are destroyed to make way for Atchley.
  Jan. 3 Dedication of William Black Medical Research Building.
  June 8 Radiotherapy Center dedicated.
1967 Jan. 16 Ground broken for addition to Eye Institute.
  May 18 Cornerstone laying for Babies Hospital South.
1968 Summer-Fall Expansion of West 165th St. parking garage.
  Fall Construction begins on Bard-Haven Towers.
  Fall Construction of additional 10 floors of Babies Hospital South begins.
  Dec. 5 Dedication of Dana Atchley Pavilion (now Herbert Irving Pavilion).
1969 Sept. Groundbreaking for Vanderbilt Clinic expansion along W. 168th St.
1970   Shell of top 10 floors of Babies Hospital South finished (interior is left unfinished).
    Eye Institute addition opens, February.
    Mary Harkness Convalescent Home closed.
1973 Apr. 11 Groundbreaking for “Health Sciences Center,” (later Hammer Health Sciences Center) including Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library .
  July 16 New Vanderbilt Clinic lobby on Broadway opens.
  Sept. 28 New emergency facilities, including a relocated ambulance entrance on W. 168th Street, officially dedicated (first patient admitted, Oct. 1).
1974 Sept. 12 Topping out ceremony for Health Sciences Center.
1975 Aug. 4 Francis Delafield Hospital closed by the City of New York.
1976 Apr. 26 Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library opens in Health Sciences Center.
  Oct. 6 Formal dedication of Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library.
  Dec. 13 Dedication of floors 9-12 of Babies Hospital South.
1977   Construction commences on the NYS Psychiatric Institute Laboratory Annex (later named the Kolb Building).
1978 Sept. 30

Dedication of Hammer Health Sciences Center, named for Armand Hammer (P&S Class of 1921) and his father, Julius (P&S Class of 1902).

  Dedication of Kolb Building of the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
1984 Oct. 17 “Ceremonial groundbreaking” for new Presbyterian hospital building (Milstein Hospital Building).
  Fall 1984-Winter 1985 Demolition of Maxwell and Harkness Halls: School of Nursing moves to Georgian Building.
1985 Fall Construction of Energy Court on site of former ambulance court on Broadway.
1986 Sept. 19 Topping out of Allen Pavilion, a new community hospital created by Presbyterian Hospital in the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood.
1987 Mar.-Apr. Construction of skyways over Ft. Washington Ave. connecting “old” Presbyterian Hospital with new hospital building (Milstein).
  July 8 Ribbon-cutting marks opening of four-story addition to Babies Hospital.
  Oct. 20 Cornerstone laying for Allen Pavilion.
    Ribbon-cutting for first full-service site of the Washington Heights/Inwood Ambulatory Care Network Corporation (ACNC) on Nagle Avenue.
1988 July 21 Allen Pavilion admits first patients.
  Dec. 30 First patients moved to Milstein Hospital Building.
1989 Nov. 19 Milstein Hospital Building dedicated.
1993 May-June Construction begins on Audubon Research Building (now Mary W. Lasker Building), first component of the Audubon Biomedical Science & Technology Park, and restoration of the Audubon Ballroom begins.
  Oct. Construction starts on new quarters for the New York State Psychiatric Institute on Riverside Drive.
1995 June 26 Groundbreaking for the Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion, second Audubon building.
  Oct. 16 Formal opening of Mary Woodard Lasker Building.
1997 May 30 Dedication of Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion.
1998 May 8 Dedication of the New York State Psychiatric Institute building on Riverside Drive; its former building becomes home of the Mailman School of Public Health.
Nov. 16 Groundbreaking for new addition to Babies Hospital, to be called Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York .
2001 Feb. 9 Groundbreaking for the Irving Cancer Research Center, third Audubon building.
  Oct. 19 Dedication of new residence for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at 390 Fort Washington Ave.
2002 Jan. Topping out of Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.
  Feb. 22 Topping out of Irving Cancer Research Center.
2003 Nov. 12 Dedication of Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.
2005 May 5 Dedication of the Irving Cancer Research Center.
2006 Apr. 27 Groundbreaking for the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center.
  June Mailman School of Public Health building (originally the New York State Psychiatric Institute) named in honor of the School’s long-time Dean, Allan Rosenfield.
2007 Nov. Topping out of the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center.
2009 May New York State Psychiatric Institute building on Riverside Drive named in honor of Herbert Pardes, its former Director.
  Oct. 3 Dedication of the Teaching & Learning Center on the lower two floors of the Hammer Health Sciences Center.


Jan. 20

Ribbon-cutting for the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center.

  Summer Works begins on radiation oncology facility located beneath Medical Center Garden.
2011 June 8 Dedication of the Alexandra and Steven Cohen Children's Emergency Department at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.
2012 Nov.

51 Audubon Ave. opens. It incorporates the façade and other architectural elements from the 1903 Sheffield Building originally located on Columbia's Manhattanville Campus.

2013 Jan. 24 Ribbon-cutting for Columbia Doctors Midtown offices at 51 West 51st Street.
  March 13 Dedication of Irving Radiation Oncology Center located beneath Medical Center Garden.
  Sept. 16 Groundbreaking for the Medical and Graduate Education Building on Haven Ave at West 171st St.
  Oct. 7 Groundbreaking for the Morgan Stanley Adult Emergency Dept. Its construction entails the demolition of the Energy Court.
2014 Oct. 2 Topping-out of Medical and Graduate Education Building.
  Oct. 22 Groundbreaking for new home of School of Nursing.
2015 July 30 Opening of entrance and lobby of the Morgan Stanley Adult Emergency Dept. on the Broadway site of the Energy Court.
  Dec. 14 Topping-out of new School of Nursing building.
2016 June 9 Dedication of Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center (originally Medical and Graduate Education Building)
2017 June 8 Dedication of School of Nursing building, West 168th St. and Audubon Ave.
2018 Spring-Fall Alteration and renovation of Alumni Auditorium.


  • A wide variety of publications were used to compile this list. The Stethoscope, published monthly by Presbyterian Hospital from 1947 through 1984, was the most consistently useful.
  • For the 1925-28 construction of CPMC, Albert R. Lamb’s History of the Presbyterian Hospital and the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, 1868-1943 was essential.
  • Other sources were the annual reports of the Hospital, the Medical School, and the Medical Center; P&S Journal; Columbia University Health Sciences Reporter; Dialogue; and NYPress.
  • Hospital construction was well-documented in these publications, while University building was less so. The New York State Psychiatric Institute was the most difficult of the CUMC constituents for which to find information.

Compiled by Stephen Novak, Archives & Special Collections, Health Sciences Library, 2010; updated as needed.