The Yale Corporation — the University’s highest policy making body — assembled last weekend for its December meeting in which trustees were updated on upcoming labor negotiations and several ongoing projects were discussed.

Trustees discussed construction projects, renewed the Yale Homebuyer Program and received a report on the administration’s preparation efforts for the upcoming union negotiations, University President Richard Levin said in a press conference yesterday.

Levin said the Corporation was briefed on Yale’s efforts to create a “less-charged and contentious atmosphere” with the unions — efforts, Levin added, that would continue as the University enters negotiations in January.

The University has hired consultants from Restructuring Associates Inc. to help bring the two sides together. The consultants did not report to the Corporation, Levin said, because they will issue a report to both the University and the unions together.

Levin said that the administration has been discussing union negotiations with the Corporation for about a year and that the Corporation supports the University’s actions.

“They delegate to the officers the power to come to terms with the unions and complete a contract,” Levin said.

The bulk of the weekend’s work was done by committees, on which the 16 trustees serve.

Levin said the building and grounds committee meeting yielded the most interesting discussion, as trustees were given updates of several pending campus construction projects.

Richard Meier, the architect of the Getty Museum, will be the architect of a new Art and Architecture building. The buildings at 194 and 200 York St., adjacent to the existing Paul G. Rudolph Art & Architecture Building, will be replaced by the new Meier building, Levin said. The new building will house the History of Art Department and an expansion of the arts library.

“The Meier building will look like the Rudolph building,” Levin said. “[The Meier building] will be all glass and will lighten up the heaviness of the Rudolph building. This will be a great enhancement for Yale.”

Famed art historian and professor Vincent Scully said he was also glad the building would be glass.

“The other building is so heavy and massive it would be a mistake to try to deal with it in similar heavy terms,” Scully said. Levin estimated that the renovation will add 12 to 15 classrooms, and he said that the groundbreaking was probably still a few years away.

Stephen Kieran ’73, the architect for Berkeley College’s renovation, gave a presentation to the committee on the Pierson/Davenport renovation that he is also overseeing.

The institutional policy committee voted to renew the Yale Homebuyer Program, created by Levin in 1994, for another two years. The program provides subsidies to help Yale faculty and staff purchase homes in New Haven.

“We believe more home ownership in the inner-city is important to the stability of the community,” said Levin, who added that the program has cost the University over $10 million and has leveraged over $50 million of home ownership.

Ninety percent of program participants, he said, were first-time homeowners, and 50 percent of the buyers were members of the two Yale labor unions.

The institutional policy committee also gave a report on the University’s progress in achieving increased diversity within the Yale faculty. Two years ago the University announced a major recommitment to this effort.

Levin said that increasing the number of women in under-represented fields and the number of minorities in the faculty was an institutional priority.

“We need to encourage more students of color to go into academics,” Levin said.