Demolition begins to make room for new colleges

Defying both economic headwinds and local critics, the University has begun clearing space for the 13th and 14th residential colleges.

A woodchipper growled as work crews uprooted trees around 70 Sachem St. on Tuesday, on the corner of the Prospect Triangle, the future site of the new residential colleges. A trash chute extended from a second-story window of Brewster Hall, and the whole area, except Mudd Library and Donaldson Commons, has been fenced off by blue tarp.

Associate Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93 said the removal of buildings began a few weeks ago.

“The work is being done carefully, as we are both salvaging as much of the worthy architectural elements as possible and recycling the bulk of the building material,” Morand said in an e-mail.

Deputy Provost Lloyd Suttle said the unoccupied buildings on the site are scheduled to come down this fall, although he was not aware of how the demolition is progressing. Although construction of the colleges, originally planned to open 2013, has been delayed because of the recession, the project is proceeding as long as gift funding is available. And, Suttle said, there is already enough funding for the demolition.

Yale received permits on Sept. 4 to demolish 70 Sachem St. and two other buildings.

In recent months, groups such as the New Haven Preservation Trust and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation have pleaded with Yale to save seven historic buildings, including Hammond Hall, Brewster Hall, the Daniel Cady Eaton House and two houses on Prospect Street, as well as the Seeley G. Mudd Library. But the University has shown every intention of pressing forward with its plans.

Told of Tuesday’s activity at the site, Anstress Farwell GRD ’78, president of New Haven Urban Design League, said, “There’s nothing new to say. It’s just wrong. They’re throwing away buildings that have life in them and have importance.”

The University studied options for preserving Hammond Hall and incorporating it into the design of the new colleges but ultimately decided against it.

“We, the University, studied all the buildings on the site and made this decision in order to have the new colleges be comparable to the renovated colleges currently on campus,” School of Architecture Dean Robert A.M. Stern ARC ’65, whose firm is designing the colleges, said in a recent interview. “This is a highly charged, politicized issue.”

Paul Needham, Victor Zapana and Baobao Zhang contributed reporting.


  • Townie

    How do you spell A-R-R-O-G-A-N-C-E???

  • Another townie

    I sure am glad to hear that the work of chipping up all the trees they have sawn down is proceeding “carefully.”

  • Gownie

    Just like that. A-r-r-o-g-a-n-c-e.

  • elm city

    Hey it’s Yale. They don’t give two hoots about New Haven unless it benefits Yale. Yale and it’s students will interfere with the city and it’s residents on a daily basis. The students use the city as a 4 year test bed for every little pet political project they can think of to pad thier resume. The university’s private police harass residents on public streets. Read the Annie Le comments, the students despise the workers they consider beneath them. They’d like to tear down the Grove Street cemetery and build over the Green to suit thier own purposes. Yale has bought half the city, and acts like it owns the rest. Does anyone really think Yale cares in the least what the despised “townies” think?

  • Thucydides

    The strong do what they will, while the weak suffer what they must.

  • Amos Eaton

    I love that brick house on the corner.

  • Tanner

    At times Preservation groups do nothing more then see an old house and think it needs to be saved. Or they see a quirky building, see the Pirelli building on Long Wharf, which was nothing more than an architect’s ego but was functionally deficent. As far as the Grove St Wall, wasn’t there a tunnel that ones ran under the area?