Morse and Stiles slated to undergo renovations

Although administrators have not yet officially announced a timeline, University budget projections show that Morse College will be renovated during the 2009-2010 academic year, followed by Ezra Stiles College the next year.

The renovations, budgeted for nearly $150 million in total, will complete the University’s two-decade-long overhaul of its residence halls.

The order of renovation laid out in the University budget determines who among the current freshmen will have the privilege of spending their senior year in Swing Space ­— and who will get to enjoy it in a sparkling new college. Jonathan Edwards College is closed for renovations this year, and Calhoun College will be shuttered next year for its year-long facelift.

In capital spending projections included in the University’s 2007-2008 budget, large-scale construction on Morse is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2010 and continue into 2011. Stiles, meanwhile, is slated for renovations starting in fiscal year 2011 and finishing the next year.

University officials have made no public comment on the order of the renovations and told the News last week that the administration has made no decision. But in an e-mail to Stilesians early Friday morning, Stiles Master Stuart Schwartz said it was “pretty certain” that Stiles would be renovated in 2010-2011, making it the last residential college to undergo renovations.

Morse Master Frank Keil said it was the “likely scenario” that his college would be renovated first — though he said he had not lobbied to get the first renovation slot.

“I think it’s totally logistical and having to do with the particular set of plans … and what seems to be the most efficient way to do it,” Keil said.

As recently as two years ago, Morse and Stiles were not expected to receive full-fledged renovations because they were built more recently than the other colleges. Calhoun was slated to receive only a summer-long renovation because the college was partially renovated in 1989.

But after an architectural report issued last year by the firm KieranTimberlake Associates found the colleges’ renovations would require more time than previously thought, the University began to plan comprehensive, yearlong overhauls like those of the other 10 colleges.

The Morse renovation is budgeted at $73.1 million, while Stiles will receive $75.4 million in upgrades, adjusted for inflation, according to the budget projections.

The timetable means that current Morse freshmen will enjoy a brand-new college for their senior year, while Morse sophomores will have to spend their last year at Yale either in Swing Space or in off-campus housing.

Only Stiles freshmen — who will have to spend their senior years in Swing Space — will be affected by the renovation.

In Stiles this weekend, some students bemoaned the decision to renovate their college after all the others, but many seemed unfazed by the news.

Joanna Da Lu ’11 said she would not be too disappointed if she had to relocate to Swing Space for senior year, since most Stiles upperclassmen already live off campus. But she said she still wishes her college were designated for renovation earlier.

“At first I was kind of disappointed,” she said. “From a Stilesian’s point of view, of course I would … say that it is unfair.”

For Hayley Born ’10, the renovation schedule means she will not have to spend her senior in Swing Space — although it could be marred by construction noise from the Morse renovation next door. But she said she does not mind that Morse will be renovated before her own college.

“I am disappointed that I won’t get to see or live in the new college, but each college has one class like that, right?” Born said.

The renovations are expected to be particularly more difficult to coordinate compared to the work done at most of the other residential colleges. The shared kitchen space used by both Morse and Stiles makes the renovations more complicated, Deputy Provost Charles Long said.

But because Swing Space is not large enough to house students from both colleges simultaneously, University construction planners will have to determine how one college — and its dining hall — can stay open while the other is completely overhauled, Long said.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the impending renovations will be the new basement spaces Morse and Stiles will enjoy, he said. Because the colleges were not built with the large basements found in most of Yale’s residential colleges, Long said, construction crews will excavate the Morse and Stiles courtyards and build new, underground common space there.

Schwartz and David Yager, the senior University architect and planner overseeing the renovations, did not return phone messages Friday.

—Lea Yu contributed reporting.

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