SOM gears up for move

Professors and students in the SOM are gearing up to move into their new campus later this year.
Professors and students in the SOM are gearing up to move into their new campus later this year. Photo by Ken Yanagisawa.

Many of the historic mansions on Hillhouse Avenue will lose their occupants when the Yale School of Management moves to the new Evans Hall campus in January.

The vacated buildings on Hillhouse, which currently house SOM faculty offices, will likely become general classrooms, offices and “swing space” that can be used when the University renovates the Hall of Graduate Studies, according to Provost Benjamin Polak. Though SOM students said they primarily spend time in the SOM building at 135 Prospect St. and do not frequent the Hillhouse mansions, SOM professors said they may feel some nostalgia for the buildings they have occupied for years. Still, professors and students alike said they are awaiting the relocation to the new SOM campus with great excitement.

Stanley Garstka, a SOM professor who is overseeing the construction of the new campus, said in a Thursday email that it will be difficult to vacate the mansions that some SOM faculty members have taught and researched in for almost 40 years.

The mansions have unique features that cannot be recreated in a modern space, SOM associate Dean David Bach said.

“I have a fireplace in my office,” Bach said, “I know I’ll have to give that up.”

Provost Polak said most classrooms in the Hillhouse mansions will retain their current format and may be used by Yale College or the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The office spaces will temporarily house faculty members from the Hall of Graduate Studies who are displaced during the HGS renovation, he said.

“When we renovated the English Department, we rented massive space in a building downtown, but we’d rather not do that,” Polak said. “[The mansions] are all very nice, so my slight worry is that if we move people in as swing space, they’re not going to want to leave.”

Since SOM students spend most of their time at 135 Prospect St., they said they will not miss the Hillhouse mansions. Peter da Silva Vint MBA ’14 said that he only went to the mansions two or three times this year to drop off assignments.

The current SOM campus — which is split between 135 Prospect St. and the Hillhouse mansions — is not well organized because it keeps students and faculty separated, SOM professor Andrew Metrick said. Garstka said the campus is also too small and does not have enough space for the growing SOM community.

The opening of the new campus, which is scheduled for January, will bring students and faculty together in one larger and newer space, SOM senior associate Dean Anjani Jain said.

Bach said faculty and student reactions to the construction of the new SOM campus, which has been in the works for a decade, have been largely positive.

Seven out of ten students interviewed all said that they think the new campus, which will have more space and better technology, will help Yale SOM improve its position in business school rankings.

“We already have world-class faculty and students,” Anthony Lynn MBA ’14 said. “Now we need a world-class facility.”

Da Silva Vint said the new campus will also help the SOM administration in its efforts to recruit people from more diverse backgrounds and students who want to specialize in the financial and consulting fields at SOM.

SOM Dean Edward Snyder could not be reached for comment.

Yale broke ground on the new SOM campus in April 2011.

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