The dirt on SOM construction: Tennis field to get a raise

Approximately 40,000 cubic yards of dirt were dug up for the SOM construction, and much of it will be reused to build up Yale’s athletic fields.
Approximately 40,000 cubic yards of dirt were dug up for the SOM construction, and much of it will be reused to build up Yale’s athletic fields. Photo by Paul Cohen.

There is something dirty going on at the Yale School of Management.

No, it’s not the SOM’s decision to go ahead with its plans for building new facilities despite having to borrow millions of dollars. Instead, the dirtiest story out of Yale’s business school is about saving money.

It’s dirt.

Forty-thousand cubic yards of it — 6,204,642,077 teaspoons of soil dug up for the SOM construction. Now, it will be used to build up Yale’s athletic fields, a project consistent with both cost-cutting and environmental sustainability, said Will Smith, the Major Projects director for planning, construction and renovation for Central and West Campus.

Approximately 15,000 cubic yards of the dirt will be used to strengthen the foundation of the new SOM campus, said Joe Bolton, the Dimeo Construction project manager for the site. After that, the extra dirt will be deposited back into the area as backfill, Bolton said. That’s all standard practice.

What’s unique is what’s happening with the rest of the dirt. Instead of being trucked off to specialized landfills (as is often the case), the remaining 25,000 cubic yards will be moved to the Yale athletic field closest to the Connecticut Tennis Center — where the Pilot Pen tennis tournament has been held annually — raising it approximately five feet from its current level.

Smith said construction will begin “imminently” and will finish by this summer.

So why bother, when the athletic field will look about the same in the end?

Smith said there has always been a need for the field to be raised, as that will allow the reconfiguration of the tennis center entrance. He said the new configuration will allow cars to enter the center off of Yale Avenue and help with parking problems.

“When we found we had dirt, it became an obvious place to put it,” he said. “Well, we’ll be improving the area as a field, [and] it was a decision precipitated by our susainability policy.”

The reuse of dirt is a part of the environmentally-friendly construction plan for the new SOM campus. The project as a whole will be able to recycle 90 percent of all non-hazardous materials, said Julie Newman, director of the Office of Sustainability. She added that her office has been working with the Office of Facilities to ensure that all construction projects are as green as possible.

In addition, Smith said Yale saves money and reduces pollution by not hiring trucks to cart the dirt off to Massachusetts where many landfills are located.

Smith said he was not sure how regularly Yale engages in dirt-conserving activities, but to him, given the University’s increased emphasis on sustainability, “it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Comments

  • Goldie08

    The article’s title is really confusing. At first, I thought the author was referring to a tennis court as a tennis field