Trumbull renovations stay on pace

Construction on the Trumbull College dormitories is nearing completion, and renovations to the rest of the building are on schedule for completion in time for students to move in next fall, Facilities officials said Monday.

The nearly 200 workers involved in the project are now focusing their efforts on the master’s house and dining hall, though the greatest structural changes will be made to the student facilities in the basement, which will see an increase in amenities. Trumbull residents said they are eager to return to their improved college, but some expressed disappointment with the plan’s details and the inconvenience that the work has caused them during the past year.

Facilities officials said the project is on schedule to be completed before the start of the coming academic year, and they are currently preparing the final touches for the residential areas.

“I think the students are really going to like the space and be proud that it’s their college,” Senior Mechanical Engineer Ralph Esposito said.

Project Management Director Steve Brown said he considers the quick pace of the renovation an accomplishment given the amount of work required. The addition of a substructure beneath a courtyard to house a mechanical room and a theater was particularly demanding, he said. Workers were also forced to haul renovation material through the student gates, creating a knot in supply lines.

“Logistically, it was a fairly intensive project,” Brown said. “Just to get all the comprehensive renovation work done with a 15-month project is a challenge, not only in Trumbull, but also with the other colleges.”

The master’s house and dining areas will not undergo significant changes, though workers are currently installing handicap access and air conditioning as well as special echo-proof plaster to the dining hall walls. Esposito said students will notice the greatest change in the basement area, which is being upgraded to include an exercise room, buttery, dance area and television room similar to those in most other residential colleges. The basement is about 65 percent complete, he said, with much of the work so far focused on connecting the basements between formerly separated buildings.

Trumbull students reacted positively to the renovation plans, though some said they regretted the loss of the college’s squash court, which doubled as a basketball court.

“I like that they’re going to expand the buttery and make it a good social location, but I’m really disappointed that they’re going to take away the basketball court,” Aldrin Agas ’08 said.

The dormitories have been refurbished but maintain most of the same architectural characteristics as when they were first built in the 1930s, Brown said. Workers have also increased intersuite access and added new windows, Esposito said, making the dorms more “user-friendly.”

Trumbull students said they are looking forward to moving from their temporary housing in Swing Space back to the college, especially because they will have their own dining facilities again.

Farid Foroughi ’08, who plans to live off-campus next year, said finding convenient dining options has been a major problem for Swing Space residents.

“I’ll definitely be coming back to eat in Trumbull,” he said. “The main thing to me is a homey environment for dining.”

University officials will review the work on Trumbull as it enters the final phases in order to apply lessons learned to future college renovations, Brown said. Silliman College is scheduled for 15 months of renovations beginning this May. Last week, the administration announced that Calhoun, Ezra Stiles, and Morse colleges will also undergo comprehensive renovations. Officials said they expect an early outline for those projects by the end of the month.

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