Yale submits plan for new colleges to Board of Aldermen

Yale’s application included new renderings of the colleges, showing the brick facades and redesigned tower.
Yale’s application included new renderings of the colleges, showing the brick facades and redesigned tower. Photo by Egidio DiBenedetto.

Plans for Yale’s two new residential colleges will advance next week when the Board of Aldermen reviews the University’s application to develop about seven acres in the Prospect Triangle area.

Last week, Yale submitted its designs for the new colleges, now slated to open in fall 2015, along with an application detailing how the new colleges will meet city regulations for a project of its size and a petition from Yale’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs highlighting the project’s importance to Yale and the city. Gaining the green light from the Board can take about two months, said Ward 10 alderman Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10.

The tract of land that Yale is requesting the city set aside, known as a Planned Development District, is the triangle bounded by Sachem Street, Prospect Street and the Farmington Canal bicycle path.


“We look forward to this next step in the process,” Associate Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93 said in an e-mail Thursday. “Most importantly, this project will allow for the first significant increase in the size of the Yale College student body since the admission of women in 1969.”

Yale’s application makes the case that the project will allow for redevelopment of a large tract of land, in the process creating more jobs for local residents.

The University’s voluntary payment to the city will grow as its enrollment increases, according to the application. The new colleges will house 850 more students in its residencies .

“The plans for the new residential colleges draw on and will add to the City’s rich architectural heritage,” Morand wrote in the petition. “The project will also bring permanent economic benefits through an increase in the student population.”

The petition cited Yale’s record-low 7.5 percent admissions rate as evidence of the need to expand.

According to Yale’s application, the new colleges will aim to receive a rating of LEED Gold Certification by using solar energy to heat shower water for showers and collecting rainwater to be reused for landscape irrigation, among other features.

Architecturally, the new colleges will also contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the Prospect Triangle by including three towers that will mark important intersections. The one located on the west side of the northern college will be 190 feet tall and may one day house bells, University Planner Laura Cruickshank said last week.

Following the board’s approval of the development district, the new colleges’ designers will provide more detailed site plans and a more concrete schedule, Morand said.

But the board will not actually discuss Yale’s proposal on Monday, Elicker said. After the board receives the application, Yale’s request will most likely be sent on to the Board’s Legislation Committee.

Elicker added that some planned development districts, such as the zoning around Yale’s School of Management campus, have been met with resistance from the surrounding communities. He said it is too early in the process to gauge whether the new colleges will face the same problem.

The colleges will take 30 months to build, Cruickshank said last week, which means workers will have to start construction by March 2013 if the colleges are to be ready for incoming freshmen in fall 2015.

Yale still has to raise $500 million to pay for the completion of the colleges since no major gifts has come in so far, Vice President for Development Inge Reichenbach said last week.

A Planned Development District application to the Board of Aldermen costs $3,350, according to New Haven ordinances.

Vivian Yee contributed reporting.

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