Forestry’s plans will unify campus

The School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences unveiled plans Monday to unify its campus scattered along Prospect Street into a single interconnected complex.

The announcement comes less than one year after construction started on the Class of 1954 Environmental Study Center across from the Peabody Museum. The environment center and the new Forestry School complex are part of a $500 million Science Hill plan Yale unveiled in January 2000.

The current proposal, whose focus is providing a model of environmentally conscious design, calls for creating a major new building, refurbishing and updating Sage Hall and Osborne Memorial Laboratories, and revitalizing Yale-affiliated green space in the Science Hill area, including Sachem’s Wood and Farnam Gardens.

“I’ve thought for a long time that something has to be done [to the School of Forestry campus],” said social ecology professor Stephen Kellert.

Kellert leads the 10-person Forestry and Environmental Studies task force responsible for the conceptual development of the new campus. The task force, along with other members of the Forestry School, is busy raising money for the proposed projects. At present, there is no start date for the construction.

The new building — a so-called “green” structure — will house a reception area, space for environmental exhibits, a lecture hall and many rooms for student group meetings, Forestry School Dean James Gustave Speth said. Speth said he hopes the building’s features will be diverse enough to catch the attention of all factions of the Yale community.

One goal for the new centrally located building is for it to coexist as naturally as possible with its surroundings, Kellert said. The building will be “green” on the inside as well. Kellert said that the task force is currently investigating ways to more efficiently recycle, use energy and heat and cool the facility.

Kellert said he envisions an “organic design” for the new centralized campus.

“It should remind us of how our physical and mental capacities are intimately connected to nature,” he said.

Speth noted that the proposed renovations extend beyond the walls of the new facility. The task force is considering restoring several nature sites near Ingalls Rink and Science Hill to make them more accessible to Yalies and pedestrians.

According to Forestry School director of communications David DeFusco, the new building, together with Sage Hall and Osborne Memorial Laboratories, will form three boundary lines for a new courtyard on Science Hill. The formation of the courtyard will more clearly delineate the green space vaguely bounded by Prospect Street, Bass Laboratories and Gibbs Physics Laboratories near the Class of 1954 Environmental Sciences Center.

Kellert said he hopes the proposed ecological restorations, such as the creation of a new courtyard, will make Yalies and others assume greater responsibility for the environment.

“The reason many people aren’t responsible regarding the environment is that they feel very little connection to it,” Kellert said. “By revitalizing as much of Yale’s ecology as possible, we can make people feel a greater connection.”

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