The ongoing transformation of the Union Square neighborhood hit a significant milestone yesterday with the topping out of The New School’s new University Center on the corner of 5th Avenue and 14th Street. The new building, designed by SOM’s award-winning architect Roger Duffy, will add 375,000 square feet of much-needed classroom space, an auditorium, library and 608-bed student residence. In addition, the building will make 14th Street a little greener, garnering a gold rating from LEED. At the topping out ceremony, The New School President David E. Van Zandt thanked former New School President Bob Kerrey for starting the ambitious project, the Durst Organization for developing the new academic center with the environment in mind, and Tishman Construction. President Van Zandt also gave special mention to the Union Square community thanking them for their patience and understanding through the construction process. By the end of the year, the new building will don a new skin, providing further relief from noise to nearby residents, as the construction moves inside the building. The new University Center building is expected to open for the Spring 2014 semester.