With Vanderbilt Hall renovations nearly complete, Pierson College next on the list, and Davenport College waiting in the wings, the effects of these projects on various corners of the student body have come to light. In addition to Pierson and Davenport students, athletes, handicapped students and the York Street Theater Studies Department may all be affected.
Dean of Administrative Affairs John Meeske said Davenport may not be the last York Street building on the renovations list. The Theater Studies Department may have to move if the administration decides to add 254 York Street to Davenport. Meeske said the second floor might be converted into a five-person suite while the first floor may be used as a public space. But nothing has been decided yet, Meeske said.
Theater Studies professor and Saybrook College Dean Paul McKinley said he rarely goes to the York Street department building and that he had no idea what the University could fit into the small space.
“I just went over there for the first time in a year to pick up some mail,” McKinley said.
In addition, the faculty offices to the left of the Pierson walkway will be relocated to make way for more student quarters, Meeske said.
He also said renovations often signal the death of residential college squash courts.
“The squash courts aren’t being used as they once were,” Meeske said.
Part of the reason for this, said men’s squash player William Rees ’06, might be that residential college squash courts have thinner, smaller American-style floors than the Brady Squash Center courts. Since the early 1990s, college-level athletes have been playing by international standards, making the squash courts obsolete. In some colleges, like Calhoun, the courts are rarely used for anything but summer storage.
“Our squash center — the new one they built, Brady — is the best squash center in the world,” Rees said. “It would never occur to me to go into one of the residential colleges’ [squash courts].”
One of the major concentrations of all the renovations has been handicapped accessibility, Meeske said.
The renovated Vanderbilt Hall will include a handicapped-accessible suite, which will have an outer ramp leading to it. Pierson and Davenport will share an extra elevator, and the building to be added to Pierson next year will also be handicapped-accessible.
Meeske said a few new ramps would be built in the existing college area as well, and that the extra building would be linked to the basement to prevent isolating the residents of the new area.