Plans set for science facilities

Fulfilling its professed commitment to engineering and the sciences, Yale has finalized plans for two new additions to its campus — a new chemistry facility and a new engineering building. But to the dismay of some professors at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the plan includes cutting down several trees.

Before workers break ground on the new 100,000-square-foot chemistry building, they must move the two-story colonial revival structure currently sitting on the site at 285 Prospect St. The building, used by the environment school for teaching and administration, will be hoisted off its foundation and moved to nearby Edwards Street.

To preserve the historic building, University officials plan to rotate it 90 degrees and move it to its new location in the spring. Yale has already started to excavate the building and has razed trees to clear the way for its travel.

University Planner Pamela Delphenich said Yale determined that 285 Prospect St. was the optimal site for the new chemistry building because of its proximity to Kline Chemistry Lab.

“It was part of an overall Science Hill plan,” Delphenich said. “We looked at the way the programs were linked to one another. That was what worked to consolidate all of chemistry.”

Construction of the new chemistry building — supervised by Cannon Design– will begin during summer.

The following spring, Yale will begin building the new engineering building on the parking lot and wooded area adjacent to Arthur K. Watson Hall on Prospect Street.

Cesar Pelli, a world-renowned architect and former dean of the Yale School of Architecture, drafted the contemporary design for the new engineering building, Delphenich said. She said the 65,000-square-foot building’s appearance is “appropriate to 21st-century engineering research.”

The building will house research laboratories, offices and a classroom, Delphenich said.

Images of the buildings will be released to the public in the near future because many people are interested in the project, Delphenich said.

“In the end, a lot of people will be very happy with it,” Delphenich said.

But professors at the environment school have expressed discontent over the construction’s effect on the environment.

In a letter to Yale President Richard Levin, 17 professors and environmentalists asked the University to “consider alternate means that would minimize or avoid altogether the destruction of trees” on the new engineering building’s proposed site and in the way of the environment school building’s move.

“Trees, among other things, give us a connection to the natural environment and remind us that we are part of this larger environment,” forestry and environmental studies professor James Axley said.

The trees in the building’s path were cut down last weekend, but environmentalists still plan to continue the fight for the “healthy and mature” elms at the engineering building’s proposed home.

Delphenich said the canal near the engineering site will not be touched.

A worker from Santos Construction Inc. looks on as trees are removed from the site of the new Chemistry Building.  Over the weekend workers cut down many trees including an Elm tree from this site.
Nathan Francis
A worker from Santos Construction Inc. looks on as trees are removed from the site of the new Chemistry Building. Over the weekend workers cut down many trees including an Elm tree from this site.

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