Construction on the new residential colleges appears to be ahead of schedule.
While Provost Benjamin Polak maintained Monday evening that the University would still formally break ground on the two colleges in February 2015, construction workers at the Prospect Street site Monday afternoon confirmed that work has already officially begun. Yesterday afternoon, construction crews were seen operating heavy machinery and excavating dirt.
“If you walk by the site, you can eyeball yourself and make an assessment,” one Dimeo Construction Company employee — whose employer is the lead contractor for the project — said under the condition of anonymity.
One construction worker, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity due to contractual constraints, said that for the past three weeks, workers have been on site, and construction has started for the new buildings.
He added that workers, including excavators from Camputaro & Son — a North Branford construction company — have commenced preliminary work on the property.
Representatives from Camputaro & Son could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
“[We’re doing] mass excavation, erosion control measures, things like that,” a Camputaro & Son construction worker said. “We are also digging a patch for the tower cranes — a concrete footing to anchor these cranes.”
While University spokesman Tom Conroy said there is preparation work underway for the Prospect Street site — which includes fencing work and other preparatory steps — he denied that this constituted the official “groundbreaking” of the new residential colleges.
Polak said that the University has been working on the site for several years. He added that some work is better completed in the fall before the ground freezes with colder weather.
Although administrators said the formal groundbreaking would occur in February, on-site personnel said that the shovels were already in the ground.
Other employees at the offices of Dimeo Construction Company declined to comment and directed all question to the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications.
In an October 2013 campus-wide email, Polak outlined the tentative schedule for the project.
“We are working … with a goal to break ground on the new colleges in February 2015,” he said.
With construction now underway, transportation along Prospect and Sachem streets has been impacted. The sidewalk closest to the site along Prospect Street between Trumbull Street and Sachem Street has been closed and blocked by striped orange hurdles and cones.
Multiple yellow flyers posted on construction fences and dated to Nov. 4 announced that there would also be a temporary bus stop move.
“Due to new construction at Sachem and Prospect, buses will not be able to service the following inbound bus stops,” the message read. “This project may take over two and a half years (subject to change).”
According to the Camputaro & Son portfolio, the company has previously worked with Yale. It was responsible for 19,250 cubic yards of structure excavation on the Yale Social Sciences Building.