Pierson building is still on schedule

While students’ morning hikes to Science Hill or Old Campus have often been lengthened over the past month by driving wind, slick ice or swirling snow, recent weather conditions have not affected the renovations of Pierson College, University Director of Project Management Arch Currie said last week.

Currie said builders have been concentrating almost entirely on interior work at the college since the renovations commenced last summer. Currie said the projects are, in general, “on schedule.” Some of the college’s facilities such as a basketball court and a theater will be shared with Davenport College, so Pierson students will not have full access to them until after Davenport is renovated next year.

“We expect to be done [with the entire Pierson project] at the end of August,” Currie said.

Work is also progressing on a new three-story housing structure which will be added to Pierson’s Upper Court, Currie said. He said workers are fabricating the building in 33 separate pieces at an off-site factory. These pieces will be brought to Yale and connected over a period of about four days during spring recess in March, he said.

The new building’s foundation, the only part being created at the University, was actually poured during the coldest part of the winter so far, Currie said.

The interior work is also progressing, Currie said. He said currently builders are performing electrical, mechanical, plumbing, carpentry and painting work in the college’s rooms. Currie said the renovations have also opened up room for additional students to live in Pierson, specifically in the college’s upper levels.

“We think that the student population could conceivably increase by as much as 40 [Pierson] students total,” Currie said.

While Yale has added many new facilities to the college, current Pierson juniors may not be able to enjoy them. A theater, basketball court, digital media center, pottery room, printing press and paper making room, and potentially a darkroom will be shared with Davenport College, which will be renovated next year, and will not be accessible until work on both colleges is completed, Senior Architect for Facilities David Yager said.

Yager said Pierson students will have immediate access to the college’s music room, dance studio, weight room, aerobics and exercise room, game room, and cafe, buttery and lounge.

The underground connection between Pierson and Davenport’s tunnel systems will also be improved, Yager said.

“After the renovations are completed, they will be connected in quite an elegant way,” Yager said.

Pierson College Council President Dylan Davey ’05 said students have enjoyed Swing Space “to a degree” but the topic of moving back to Pierson has been coming up more frequently in recent weeks.

She said students have especially missed having a common dining hall, which she said was often a social center for Piersonites.

“I know a lot of people that used to go to the dining hall at 5:30 and leave at 7,” Davey said.

Davey said the college’s Tuesday Night Club parties are not “quite the same” when held in a corner of Swing Space. She predicted there would be heavy competition next fall for rooms in Pierson’s Lower Court, where parties are usually held.

She said students will have a chance to look at the plans for the new Pierson more closely soon as students begin to work out their rooming plans for next year.

Pierson is the fifth residential college to be renovated as part of the University’s plan to rejuvenate its physical plant, including Old Campus buildings and all of the residential colleges.

Currie said the Davenport renovations will begin in May, with work on Trumbull College beginning the following year, pending the approval of the Yale Corporation. University officials have said in the past that Yale will then renovate Silliman College in 2006-2007, followed by — in an undetermined order — Calhoun, Ezra Stiles, Jonathan Edwards and Morse colleges.

Pierson College stands on a cold New Haven evening. Recent harsh winter weather has failed to delay the college’s renovation plans.
Zoe Pershing-Foley
Pierson College stands on a cold New Haven evening. Recent harsh winter weather has failed to delay the college’s renovation plans.

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