Univ. digs into new projects

Construction and renovation activity on campus is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent next year, officials said, bringing unprecedented changes to residential, scientific and arts facilities on campus.

Upgrades to the residential colleges will continue over the summer, as renovations to Trumbull College are completed and work begins on Silliman College, the largest residential dormitory. Cross Campus will become a construction zone until August 2007, while the underground Cross Campus Library is revamped. In addition, workers will begin to erect a new Environment School building and an arts complex, as well as new steam line systems intended to pave the way for future renovations.

Deputy Provost for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs Lloyd Suttle said the scope and size of the projects represent the most ambitious effort yet to reconstruct Yale’s campus.

“I don’t recall a time when we’ve done so many big, big projects at the same time,” Suttle said. “It’s exciting. We’re soon going to be able to see light at the end of a tunnel with a rebuilt campus.”

Perhaps the most important work will center on residential college renovations, Suttle said, as their construction time frames depend strictly on the academic schedule. In addition to finishing Trumbull over the summer, workers will remove steam lines from the basement of Jonathan Edwards College and reinstall them under a sidewalk, Suttle said, in order to create space for future work. Silliman’s 15-month renovation will also begin this summer, and is expected to be more costly than past work on its peer colleges, Yale President Richard Levin said. At the same time, a building on Elm Street intended to temporarily house Silliman students is expected to be completed by the end of summer.

After Commencement, CCL will close for a revamping scheduled for completion by fall 2006. Planners aim to repair CCL’s aging infrastructure and add new study space and entrances, which will include the current below-ground courtyards within the library perimeter. In lieu of vending machines, the new facility will also feature a cafe serving sustainable food and beverages.

Associate University Librarian Danuta Nitecki said library staff hope to minimize inconvenience to students by moving much of CCL’s collection to Sterling Memorial Library and increasing SML’s study hours during the construction.

“We’re hoping that by extending hours at Sterling, more students will experience Sterling and explore the beautiful study areas there,” she said. “But it’s probably going to be crowded.”

A large swath of Cross Campus will be cordoned off for both semesters next year while construction crews work underground.

The University’s art and architecture facilities are also scheduled for major changes starting this summer. A new building, housing the History of Art Department and an arts library, will rise next to the Art and Architecture Building on York Street.

That project will take about two years to complete, Suttle said. In the meantime, he said, the A&A itself will be renovated next year, and its personnel will temporarily move to a new sculpture building in spring 2007. The sculpture building, which is currently under construction at the corner of Park and Howe streets, will include studios and an exhibition space, he said.

Work on the University’s art and architecture facilities illustrates the complex way in which project schedules depend on each other, Suttle said.

“In so many areas Yale’s construction and renovation plans are like dominoes,” he said. “One has to fall before the next one can get started.”

During the fall semester, a new facility housing the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies will be built upon the current site of the Pierson-Sage Power Plant on Science Hill. The building will include sustainable energy features such as solar panels, Senior Mechanical Engineer David Spalding said.

“It’s a very challenging project because this is intended to be Yale’s most sustainable building,” he said. “For the School of Forestry, it really is going to be their landmark building and the center of environmental activity at Yale.”

A new set of steam lines on Science Hill will be finished in the fall, Spalding said, replacing current connections located at the power plant.

Plans for a new biology building are still in the design phase, he said, but construction may begin by the end of the next academic year.

The University also plans to complete two new parking garages next year, one on Science Hill and the other on the same site as the sculpture building at Park and Howe streets. Some programs normally conducted in the Afro-American Cultural Center will relocate during the fall semester while it undergoes interior renovations. The Asian American and Latin American cultural centers will undergo exterior renovations, but Suttle said he does not expect them to experience major disruptions.

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