Despite some minor surprises, renovations of Vanderbilt Hall are both on schedule and on budget, University administrators said last week.
The University is approximately five months into the renovation, which is scheduled for completion next fall. Yale administrators took a year off from residential college renovations in 2002-03 to address refurbishment and technological upgrades in Vanderbilt.
Arch Currie, director of the project management division of the Office of Facilities, said though there are always “concealed conditions” during the process, renovations will be completed within the 15-month time frame.
Currie said the “issue of the moment” involves one set of chimneys in Vanderbilt that is considerably corroded. The project’s design principal Herbert Newman ARC ’59 — of the architect and planning firm Herbert S. Newman and Partners — said one of the chimneys was visibly leaning to one side, which meant the steel was either corroding or the connections were rusty. Newman said the chimney has been taken down and will be reconstructed.
But Newman said enough forensic work has been done to identify any other problems of this nature.
“It’s going very well,” Newman said. “When a project is at this stage — pretty much all of the unknowns have been exposed.”
A major part of the renovations will include the construction of moats four to five feet below ground level in the courtyard’s old flowerbeds.
Senior Construction Administrator Jeffrey Brown said the semicircular monitor skylights currently in basement rooms will be removed and replaced so those common rooms have three windows per room like the common rooms on other floors.
The University will also renovate completely the Vanderbilt courtyard and interior finishes. In addition, there will be upgrades to heating, lighting, fire protection, power and information technology fittings. The renovation also includes roof replacement and exterior masonry restoration.
Brown said the interior demolition in Vanderbilt was largely completed during the summer. Construction crews are now replacing some electrical and mechanical systems as well as some interior finishes.
Renovations to the exterior of Vanderbilt are proceeding despite the increasingly cold weather, Currie said. But the architectural finishes will largely be completed next year, he said.
Newman said his firm is paying particular attention to the restoration of Vanderbilt’s historical features. One such feature is the Vanderbilt Room, which Cornelius Vanderbilt — whose donation allowed for the building’s construction in 1894 — requested to be reserved for any matriculating students in the Vanderbilt family.
“[The Vanderbilt Room] is one room that we’re restoring,” Newman said. “It’s a very lovely room.”
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