As the University moves toward completing the $500 million Science Hill renovation project it began four years ago, planners are setting the stage for the next series of residential college renovations and workers are performing extensive repairs on Beinecke Plaza.
In addition to its other construction projects, Yale is working on new engineering and chemistry facilities on Science Hill that should open next spring, University Planner Pamela Delphenich said Thursday. They will soon be joined by new buildings for the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Department and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, both of which are in the design phase, Delphenich said.
Work on Pierson College, which is currently being renovated, should be finished on time by August, Delphenich said. Pierson’s new three-story housing unit, which had been fabricated in pieces off site, was brought to the University over spring break and now stands in place on the college’s Upper Court.
Delphenich said plans for work on two colleges, Trumbull and Silliman, will be presented to the Yale Corporation at their next meeting. Trumbull will be renovated in 2005-2006, followed by Silliman the next year.
Builders will begin renovating Davenport College June 1, she said.
Yale Vice President for Facilities and Administration John Pepper said Thursday that the new science facilities are one “remarkable manifestation of [Yale’s] commitment to science,” along with the University’s new faculty appointments and its efforts to increase course offerings for non-science majors.
“Besides the residential colleges, this is the biggest commitment we’re making,” Pepper said.
Five new facilities are being built as part of the Science Hill project. The first of these, the Class of ’54 Environmental Science Center, opened in 2001.
The University is “just at the very, very beginning” of designing the new MCDB facility, Delphenich said. She said Yale had hired Payette Associates as well as Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates to work on the project.
Delphenich said the planners are currently analyzing the department’s spacial needs, including how large labs should be. Construction of the MCDB building should begin in about two years, Delphenich said.
Less details were available for the new environmental school building. Delphenich said it will be “within the same vicinity of the current facility” and the current environment school building, Sage Bowers Hall, will be retained.
She said she did not know when that building would be erected.
“Right now we’re a first rate school in second rate facilities,” Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Dean Gustave Speth said. “It’s something we’ve worked very, very hard on for the last four years so we’re very excited about going ahead now.”
The current plans for the area also call “some kind of dining facility,” Delphenich said. She said the University was not sure which form the facility would take, but she said she assumed it would be at a convenient, more central location.
“I think its safe to say the top of a high rise is not the most convenient location,” Delphenich said.
Delphenich said lounges will be integrated into the buildings at the intersections of buildings and in nonresearch areas. Such spaces are included in the designs of the Chemistry, Engineering and MCDB buildings, she said.
Construction crews have already begun work on Beinecke Plaza and the job should continue through October, Delphenich said. She said workers are currently reroofing Woodbridge Hall and beginning to take up the paving of the plaza behind Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
“What we’re trying to do is minimize disruptions before the end of the school year,” Delphenich said.
Delphenich said the work on Woodbridge Hall should be finished before commencement and the fences around Beinecke will be draped for that weekend. The rest of the plaza will then be ripped up, with everything above the structural slab removed, she said.
Workers will then create a slope under the plaza to allow for better drainage, Delphenich said. The pavement on top will remain flat.
“It’s really remarkable that it’s lasted as long as it has, but it’s time to replace it,” she said.
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