Calhoun renovation on schedule

Without any major hiccups so far, construction managers and Yale officials say the renovation of Calhoun College is actually — wait for it — ahead of schedule.

Even as work continues on the seemingly interminable renovation of Jonathan Edwards College, builders at Calhoun say work begun in May is going well and they expect the college’s 14-month renovation to finish on schedule in August 2009. Officials in the University’s Facilities Office attributed the expedience of work on the project to the experience of both contractor and architect, along with the absence of any major unforeseen difficulties.

Construction on Calhoun College has been running smoothly so far. Construction managers and University officials say that they expect to finish the college’s 14-month renovation on schedule in August 2009.
Lauren Woo
Construction on Calhoun College has been running smoothly so far. Construction managers and University officials say that they expect to finish the college’s 14-month renovation on schedule in August 2009.

“The Calhoun renovation has been a really good experience so far,” said Samuel Carbone ARC ’94, director of project management at the Office of Facilities. “It may end up as one of our most successful renovations.”

Calhoun’s last renovation, of course, was anything but successful. In 1989, the University attempted to renovate the college , which was designed by John Russell Pope and completed in 1932, for the first time.

But that project, which the University aimed to complete in just one summer, made clear the difficulties of comprehensively renovating decades-old buildings in three or four months.

“Corners got cut in ’89,” said Jon Olsen, the current project manager overseeing work at Calhoun for the Office of Facilities. The rushed renovation timetable left some walls without adequate fireproofing and some ceiling lights inoperable, Olsen said.

This time, Calhoun’s contractors have more than a year to complete their work. But the team is essentially starting from scratch — the renovations of two decades ago have left Dimeo Construction Company with arguably more work to do than work done.

Dimeo also undertook the renovation of Trumbull College, which was completed on schedule in 2006. The company’s project superintendent, Joseph Tomasino, also attributed part of the project’s speed to its New Haven-based architect, Newman Architects. Interestingly, it was that firm that designed the 1989 renovation of Calhoun, although it was known at the time as Herbert S. Newman and Partners.

On a tour of the project for the News last week, Tomasino said the renovation is really two major projects combined.

“It’s not just a renovation on the inside,” he said. “It’s also a renovation on the outside.”

Over the years, the waterproofing on Calhoun’s exterior façade has failed. On most buildings, exterior restorations are a superficial process; at Calhoun, however, contractors have been forced to employ a preventative chemical process called cathodic protection — more commonly employed on offshore oil rigs than dormitories — after cleaning the rust off the steel underneath Calhoun’s stone. Pope’s only other building on campus, Payne Whitney Gymnasium, is undergoing a 5-year, $93-million exterior renovation to address similar problems.

But it is the work beneath Calhoun’s courtyard that students will most notice come fall.

A 1,700-square-foot cabaret, a buttery, television room, dance studio and wireless lounge are being added as part of an expansion of Calhoun’s basement, which will grow beneath the college’s courtyard. Digging for the addition is time-intensive but has already been completed in large part while work proceeds on the college’s exterior.

In that way, Tomasino said, it is difficult to say exactly how far ahead the team is until the project is finished. While some areas are far ahead at this point, others are closer to schedule; what is clear, however, is that the delays seen at JE are not on the horizon for Calhoun.

Speedy as the renovation at Calhoun has been, the college was not originally schedule slated to be part of Yale’s ongoing residential college renovation program. As with Morse and Ezra Stiles colleges, however, the University ultimately decided to include Calhoun in the program so as to avoid programmatic disparities between the colleges.


  • carpenter

    all articles never refer to the men on the jobs that acctually make it happen,too bad we are only reconized with pizzas. its the skill of the union trades that get these projects done.JE College would not be so behind schedual if managementlisten to the men an women who have been renovating thes projects. its a bout time we get reconized for these projects. thank you for letting me post a long over due comment

  • Alum04

    I think my favorite YPMB story comes courtesy of my mother's memory: when Yale and Vassar were thinking of merging back in the late 60s, the (televised) YPMB show had the band separate into a Y and a V, with the stem of the Y repeatedly marching into the formation of the letter V. Apparently, that caused some real outcry.

  • football parent 2

    I am a football parent and a conservative and a fan of the YPMB. The true football spirit they demonstrate and the dedication they show is a fundamental part of the Yale football experience. Showing up in the rain and cold and never waivering in thier support of Yale is inspiring and fun to watch. Thank you YPMB. As for the liberal message they convey, anyone who forgets that they are young and full of well intended heart should take a moment to reflect on the educational process they are going through. Many a young liberal will become an older conservative just the many former Hippies who are now parents and business owners trying to make thier way in the World and provde for thier families. I was at first also offended by some of the halftime messages only to remember that they are encouraged to be outspoken when the parroting the liberal mesage of thier instructors. Suspending the YPMB for profanity which was likely seen by only a few given the cold and wind which made it difficult to pay attention anything is an awfully short sighted action. Yale should treat this as an opputunity to educate students about responsibility in delivering any message, a lesson Yale could use its self. FREE THE YPMB

  • The Disgruntled Bear

    I believe that the problem lies with Tom Duffy. If he feels that his professional reputation is on the line with every script and prop, then he should take a look at them PRIOR to halftime! Either HE fell down on the job and didn't supervise his group appropriately, OR the over-18-and-therefore-legal-adults who comprise the YPMB are responsible for their own public expression, and his reputation is not sullied by their actions. In either case, the group should not be suspended. This punishment is particularly inappropriate as the Squids (Props people) who painted the Berlin Wall prop don't participate in the (now cancelled) winter sports activities at Hockey and Basketball games. As a Band Alum, I will be suspending my annual donations until the Band is reinstated. Free the YPMB!

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