Hendrie Hall renovations likely to resume

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Photo by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg.

A $5 million donation to the University in December for the expansion and renovation of Hendrie Hall will enable the project to resume soon, Vice President for Development Inge Reichenbach said.

As administrators reevaluate their fundraising objectives in the wake of the five-year Yale Tomorrow campaign, which concluded June 30, 2011, Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Yale School of Music Dean Robert Blocker have declared the $45 million renovation of Hendrie — which houses practice spaces and offices for undergraduate musical organizations, along with the School of Music’s brass, percussion and opera departments — one of their main goals. University President Richard Levin said Thursday that the project has raised more than half of its needed funds and that he is optimistic about future donations.

Blocker said the project is critical to expanding Yale’s music programs at both the undergraduate and professional levels.

“Hendrie is no longer functionally sufficient for the sophisticated programs that are housed there,” he said in a Sunday email. “Its condition is an impediment to recruitment of talented students and faculty who bring international attention to the University through their work.”

The Hendrie renovation was one of seven major University construction projects frozen in December 2008 after administrators realized the endowment was on track to drop nearly 25 percent in fiscal year 2009. The project was fully designed by Canadian architecture firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg and ready to break ground when the recession hit.

Levin said Hendrie was the cheapest of the six projects, which also included the new residential colleges, the Yale University Art Gallery renovation, the new School of Management campus, the new School of Drama building, the new biology building, and additions to the Kline and Sterling Chemistry laboratories. Only work on the Art Gallery and the SOM campus — funded by significant donations — have resumed since then.

“We have pulled [Hendrie] back from the back burner and giving it a lot of focus, and our hope is that with this focus, and two deans, we will hopefully find the [fundraising] momentum to finish it up before too long,” Reichenbach said.

The renovations will update student practice rooms, faculty studios, student lockers and rehearsal spaces to accommodate the student organizations that use the building. The project will also include a four-story expansion of Hendrie’s existing structure, adding an orchestra hall, digital recording studio and common room-like areas. An indoor walkway will connect the expansion to the Music School’s Leigh Hall so that students and faculty can transport delicate musical instruments between the two buildings without exposing them to the weather.

Tim Gladding ’13, newly elected drum major of the Yale Precision Marching Band, said the building is in dire need of renovations.

“Occasionally we’ve had problems with the roof leaking in the past into the band room, and there’s also no handicapped accessibility to the upper floors,” he said. “None of our instruments have been ruined by it, but it’s a problem for woodwind instruments and things that are very water-susceptible.”

Gabriel Zucker ’12, a music major and co-head of IGIGI, an organization for undergraduate composers, said that most of his experience in Hendrie has involved “prefab” practice rooms on the fourth floor that could often become hot and sticky due to poor ventilation. He added that extra practice rooms from the renovation and additions would help resolve overcrowding in the current practice rooms, which are split between undergraduate and graduate students.

Blocker said the construction will make the building “highly functional” and a “nexus for music at Yale.” Currently, Yale’s music programs are split among Hendrie, Sprague Memorial Hall, Leigh Hall and Woolsey Hall.

Miller said the project is also important to undergraduates, given that the Yale Concert Band, Yale Glee Club and Yale Symphony Orchestra are all based in the building.

“Music is so central along with other kinds of performance in Yale undergraduate life that getting Hendrie renovated is a key part of improving the undergraduate experience,” she said.

Completed in 1900, Hendrie Hall was named in honor of John W. Hendrie, 1851 GRD 1861, who donated funds for its construction.

Correction: Jan. 24

An earlier version of this article incorrectly credited the renderings of Hendrie Hall to DGH. In fact, the renderings were completed by the Canadian architecture firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg.

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