The University inaugurated the Political Science Department’s swing space at 8 Prospect Place Thursday as part of a larger project to reorganize the physical landscape of the Political Science Department and the other social sciences.
Yale built 8 Prospect Place — now known as Suttle Hall — this summer as the University developed plans for a new building to house the department in the area behind Luce Hall, Political Science chairman Ian Shapiro said. In addition, Yale will raze and rebuild the Social Sciences Library at 140 Prospect St. Brewster Hall, currently the Political Science Department’s main building, will become the new home of the Sociology Department. Although the University has made general plans for the area, no time frame has been set for the projects, Yale administrators said.
University Provost Alison Richard said the swing building is part of a vision for the new face of political science at Yale.
“This is part of a strategy for expanding Political Science that we embarked on — many years ago,” Richard said. “It is a subject that is of enormous interest to students.”
Richard said the reconfiguration of Political Science and the social sciences area in general is a “high priority” for the University.
“This capital project — [is] already recognized within the capital budget and planned for,” Richard said.
The plans for the new Political Science building will probably be developed quickly, said Lloyd Suttle, deputy provost for undergraduate and graduate programs. He said because the department has grown so rapidly in recent years, there is a pressing need to accommodate its expansion.
The project also aims to consolidate the housing of the department’s faculty. The entire department will fit in the new building, Shapiro said.
“I think it’s great,” said Frances Rosenbluth, director of graduate studies in political science. “I think it’s always good to have people in the same building so there can be more exchange.”
Rosenbluth said she is also pleased about the plans for the new Social Sciences Library. The structure will be rebuilt as a library and social sciences information center, Shapiro said.
The decision to build Suttle Hall came as the University initiated plans in early 2001 for a deferred maintenance project on 70 Sachem St., the former home of Political Science offices. Yale realized the building had been extensively damaged by termites. Suttle said the building is currently “mothballed” and that there are no plans for either its destruction or renovation.
“The building is in very bad condition,” University Planner Pamela Delphenich said. “There’s a question of whether it would be cost-effective to renovate it.”
Suttle Hall, the 10,000-square-foot swing building, was constructed as a combination of 27 trailers. It consists of 20 offices for faculty and two seminar rooms. The building also houses small conference rooms and work spaces for graduate students.
At the inauguration, Suttle was honored for his contributions to the project. Audience members received pins with Suttle’s face on them and a picture of Suttle Hall in the background.
“Deputy Provost Suttle — has been a significant force in helping to transform the face of the campus, and this is a small piece of that,” Richard said.
During the inauguration, Yale officials joked about the building’s appearance.
“I am the only one I know of with his name on a trailer park — at Yale, at least,” Suttle said.
Levin joked in his speech that the building passed the real test when history of art professor Vincent Scully walked by the building and commented positively on it.
“And even after looking at it, [Scully] remained enthusiastic,” Levin said.