Dwight Hall to start new phase in fund raising

Dwight Hall is about to enter the public phase of its capital campaign after having collected a total of about $4 million from large individual donors during the silent phase.

Dwight Hall co-coordinator Ben Staub ’06 said the campaign hopes to raise $6 million, $5 million of which will be used for the renovation of Dwight Hall, while the rest will be incorporated into Dwight Hall’s endowment.

Laura Rodriguez, Dwight Hall’s development coordinator, said that the beginning of the public phase will be officially announced at a reception in Dwight Hall April 21.

At the reception, all the donors of the silent phase will be honored, with an emphasis on those who have contributed the most. Staub said the majority of the donors are Yale alumni with a history of involvement in Dwight Hall.

Following the reception, Rodriguez said, there will be a silent auction and a performance by Shades.

Staub said the silent phase of the campaign tried to target those who have the ability to make larger donations.

Dwight Hall co-coordinator Laura Huizar ’06 said that acquiring a solid base of funds is vital and makes the public phase of the campaign much easier.

“The task would otherwise be very daunting,” she said. “The already existing funds become an incentive for people to give.”

Rodriguez said that no specific fund-raising plans have been made for the public phase, although Dwight Hall members have already been traveling across the United States to reach out to Yale alumni, a practice which will continue in the coming months. So far, they have visited Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston, and plan to go to Cleveland in June and Atlanta in October.

“The alums want to reach out to students,” she said. “They want to compare what they were doing when they were here with what the students are currently involved in.”

With 68 percent of the $5 million for renovations already raised, Dwight Hall, together with Yale’s facilities managers, will be requesting renovation proposals from a list of architectural firms this Monday, said Katherine Burdick, Dwight Hall’s executive director.

Burdick said that following the submissions, a joint committee of students and Dwight Hall officials will select an architect, who will then meet with various student group representatives to finalize his or her plans.

“Student input will be crucial in every step of the process,” she said.

Burdick said the construction, which is expected to start in 2006, will involve a complete renovation of the building’s exterior, conservation of the stained glass windows, replacement of all electrical systems and the construction of an interior lift and an entrance ramp on High Street to improve wheelchair access. She said specific changes will be made to accommodate Dwight Hall’s programs, such as refurbishing the meeting room and increasing the building’s capacity to support technology.

The lack of appropriate wiring was becoming a serious problem, she said, due to the lack of any interior renovations since 1932. Burdick said students had trouble using computers, and the lack of air-conditioning was a cause of frustration during the summer.

“It is so exciting that this is finally happening,” she said.

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