WEST HAVEN — A 20-minute drive south of downtown New Haven on Interstate 95, Yale’s West Campus has remained relatively quiet since the University bought it in 2007. But each Wednesday at noon, signs of life suddenly appear as workers from buildings across the complex gather to enjoy lunch — and yoga.
As the complex’s population has grown to about 120 workers, West Campus has recently opened a lunch counter and launched an hourly shuttle. And Michael Donoghue, vice president for West Campus planning and program development, said the expansion is just beginning.
These pilot programs will continue to expand as more workers flock to West Campus, Donoghue said. For dining, this may include using the existing kitchen in building 25 once the West Campus population reaches 300 to 500 people, he said.
Since March 15, Yale Transit has been running hourly scheduled shuttles to West Campus from points across campus, including Phelps Gate, Science Hill and the School of Medicine. Lisa Maloney, a project manager for West Campus, said the service was designed for the growing number of central campus workers who visit West Campus on an irregular basis.
The hourly service is in addition to the shuttles that ran once a day and provided on-demand service at other times. Maloney said the growing population of workers at West Campus made the daily service insufficient.
Since his lab moved to West Campus on March 10, ecology and evolutionary biology professor Gunter Wagner said he has found the new shuttle services necessary for researchers. Although Wagner said he usually drives his car to West Campus, he said the formerly once-daily services did not fit the schedules of lab workers residing near central campus.
In addition to expanded shuttle services, Yale Dining is currently in its fourth week of providing grab-and-go lunches in the lobby of building 25, Director of Retail Operations Tom Tucker said.
On March 3, Yale Dining began selling lunch and snack foods on Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. as a pilot program for a future permanent service, Tucker said. The food options have included salads, sandwiches, soups and assorted snack items. So far, Tucker said, the response has been overwhelmingly positive from West Campus employees, so Yale Dining is planning a permanent retail operation similar to the Uncommon retail store outside Commons.
Wagner, who has participated in the community-wide lunches each Wednesday since his lab moved, said he has been pleased with the variety and quality of the food.
But, for now, the small group of researchers, administrators and other workers scattered across West Campus is becoming a community, Maloney said. In addition to Wednesday lunches, building 25 at West Campus has become the site of weekly yoga classes taught by Maureen McGuire, who also teaches at Payne Whitney Gymnasium and Quinnipiac University.
The classes have provided a picture of what Maloney, a student in the classes, said West Campus may look like in the future.
“I think, wow, this is what it’s going to be like when everyone is together,” Maloney said. “This is going to be a new opportunity to have a community here.”
The conference room at building 25 will also be the site of the Yale Corporation’s April 9 meeting.
Lindsay Gellman contributed reporting.