In an otherwise uneventful meeting last weekend, the Yale Corporation approved building projects for the summer, placed its stamp of approval on the capital budget for next year and received an update on fund raising.
Trustees approved plans to renovate Sprague Hall, home to many student performances, this summer. Yale President Richard Levin said the entrance will be made bigger, and the basement — which once housed the music library — will have soundproof practice rooms. There are also plans to give the performance venue better lighting to give it a more attractive appearance from the street.
“There are performances in Sprague almost every night,” Levin said. “We want it to look like a place where a lot goes on.”
The meeting coincided with the second major tercentennial weekend celebration, and all of the trustees participated in the weekend’s events. To accommodate the Tercentennial schedule, the Corporation meeting was cut slightly short and moved one day earlier than usual.
Construction projects are also scheduled for Old Campus dormitories. Farnam Hall will get new windows, new bathrooms, a full paint job, new furniture and an electrical upgrade. The project will cost about $5 million. Welch Hall, whose bathrooms were renovated last summer, will receive the same upgrades as Farnam this summer as well. The Welch renovations will cost between $1.5 and $2 million, Levin said.
There are also a number of renovations set for the Yale School of Medicine. The school’s power plant will be expanded to service the new Congress Avenue medical building. There will be an addition to the Connecticut Mental Health Center and renovations in the pharmacology department in the Sterling Hall of Medicine.
Safety improvements will also be made this summer. Fire code work in the Art and Architecture Building will be completed, and sprinklers will be installed in Helen Hadley dormitory, a graduate student dorm.
Trustees approved a record-high capital budget of $324 million for next year. This year’s capital budget is $308 million, and Levin said by the fiscal year’s end on June 30 the University is likely to have spent less than $300 million. Likewise, Levin said he does not anticipate the University will use the entire capital budget next year.
Of the $324 million, 30 percent will be spent for improvements within the Medical School. Twenty percent is earmarked for undergraduate residential renovations, including the renovations of Saybrook and Timothy Dwight colleges and the Old Campus structures. Fifteen percent is designated for science buildings.
Sixty percent of the $324 million in the capital budget is financed by debt and 40 percent is financed through gifts and the operating budget.
The educational policy committee discussed all educational programming connected to Asia. Levin will be leading a delegation to China in the beginning of May, where he will be meeting with education leaders from several Chinese universities and celebrating the tercentennial in Hong Kong.
Several trustees also took a bus tour of New Haven, looking especially closely at the new initiatives on Broadway and York Street, and other spots of potential development.
The development and alumni affairs committee heard an update on foundation giving. Vice President for Development Charles Pagnam reported record-high fund raising totals, including $303 million in new activity in the first nine months of this year. Last year’s new activity total was $358 million.
“We’re definitely on track,” Levin said. “We could get to the next round number.”
The Corporation is composed of 16 trustees, all of whom attended Yale.