Pierson College recently opened its gates for the first time in a year, but students settling into their renovated rooms face ongoing construction and several unfinished college spaces, including the library and parts of the basement.
Steven Brown, the acting director of project management, said the construction team finished almost all of its work by the Aug. 25 deadline. About one third of the team will work through mid-September to finish detailing the library and sections of the basement, he said, adding that he is very pleased with progress on the college.
“They’re pretty much doing the formal wrap-up now,” he said.
After a year of electrical, mechanical, plumbing, carpentry and painting work, all the student rooms in Pierson are complete and occupied.
Brown said that by mid-September Pierson students will have access to the college’s music room, dance studio, weight room, aerobics and exercise room, game room, and cafe, buttery and lounge — all part of the newly renovated basement. Pierson will share some basement facilities, such as a theater, basketball court, digital media center, pottery room, printing press and paper making room with Davenport College. These areas will not be accessible until renovations in Davenport are completed next year. An improved underground connection between Pierson and Davenport will also be opened at that time.
When Dan Bernstein ’05 moved into Pierson last week, he did not expect his newly renovated home to be as pristine as other parts of campus.
“I never assumed all the work would be done by August,” Bernstein said. “Construction usually doesn’t finish on time.”
Before renovations began, many rooms in Pierson were dim, cramped and ramshackle, Bernstein said. While Pierson students lived in Swing Space last year, construction workers repainted the college’s rooms and put in new floors. A new wing of the college, called Upper Court, will house several new suites. Pierson rooms are now more spacious, and many more students will have singles, he said.
Bernstein said he is very impressed by the finished renovations.
“[Pierson students] are all really excited to be back in a brand new college,” Bernstein said. “The construction now isn’t interfering with my life too much.”
Some Pierson students, most of whom have lived in Lanman-Wright or Swing Space in the past two years, -said they are happy to finally live in their residential college, even with a few unfinished areas. Gary Gregoricka ’06 said Yale is beginning to feel more like a home to him because he finally lives in a small community setting.
“This is easily the finest place to live,” Gregoricka said. “There’s nothing like having a college of your own with a dining hall, library and music room.”
But Randall Rubinstein ’06 said before he can feel comfortable in Pierson, he needs some time to acquaint himself with a building he did not occupy for his first two years at Yale.
“I just moved in, so I can’t say much about Pierson,” Rubinstein said. “After it’s done, I’m sure it will all be beautiful.”
Some students said noise from construction has woken them up early in the morning a few times, but they said the disturbance has not been significant. Most of the major work is removed from the college’s main courtyard. Because neighboring Davenport College is under renovation this year, students said they were expecting to become familiar with the sights and sounds of construction.
Megan Crandell ’07 said she was amazed by the renovation project and doesn’t mind waiting a little longer for facilities she never had in Lanman Wright as a freshman.
“Pierson looks much better than it did last year,” Crandell said. “And it’s a vast improvement on [Lanman Wright].”
Although many upperclassmen said the recent hot weather has made them appreciate Swing Space’s air conditioned rooms, they said they would definitely choose Pierson’s courtyard, architecture and facilities over Swing Space’s apartment-style living.
“Swing Space may have been modern and comfortable, but it was really just a holding tank,” Gregoricka said.
Pierson Dean Christa Dove said the college’s administrators have moved comfortably into new offices. She said students are handling unfinished renovations well and have not made any significant complaints.
“I think the students are all coping very well because they are happy to be in these glorious new quarters,” Dove said.
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