Blue fences and yellow tape: a look into ongoing campus construction and renovation
Last week, University Provost Scott Strobel detailed 11 ongoing construction projects in Yale’s annual facilities report.
Tim Tai, Photography Editor
Yale has a slate of major facilities projects in the works around campus.
Last week, University Provost Scott Strobel released Yale’s annual facilities report, detailing 11 ongoing major projects. This new infrastructure, the provost said, will be critical for advancing the University’s academic priorities into the future. The flurry of construction and renovation projects has shuffled students and faculty around research spaces, offices, residences and classrooms at a rapid rate.
Construction across campus will employ green building techniques and low-carbon technologies to support the university’s goal of achieving zero operational emissions on campus by 2050. Some of the projects involve renovating existing buildings, while others involve constructing new facilities. Most of the projects are scheduled to begin soon if not already underway.
“Each of these projects is the result of many hours of planning by Yale faculty and staff who have dedicated their time and effort to defining the programmatic needs for these spaces,” Strobel wrote in the report. “We have also benefited from many donors whose generosity has made these ambitions possible.”
Here’s a closer look behind the blue fences and yellow tape.
Kline Tower renovation
Renovations of Kline Tower will position it as a new hub for computational, mathematical and statistical research.
In November 2019, University leaders first announced the renovations plans for the building, which will soon house the departments of Astronomy, Mathematics and Statistics & Data Science. Prior to the renovations, the building was dominated by laboratory space. The 186,000-square-foot renovation will convert existing laboratories into new academic offices.
The tower will also house the brand new Institute for Foundations of Data Science, which launched earlier this month. The Institute aims to support data science activities that cross traditional department lines, with offerings including conferences, workshops, seminars and academic collaborations.
“Planning for the Kline Tower spaces has been proceeding with faculty engagement on questions of how these spaces best function for the kind of research that goes on in mathematical, data-driven, and astronomical and astrophysical domains,” Dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences Jeffrey Brock told the News. “We are very hopeful that the tower will be a new, visible destination for Yale’s foundational mathematical strength, while providing an attractor for new kinds of data-driven investigations.”
Last year, professors expressed mixed feelings about the upcoming move to Kline Tower. While many faculty members were pleased to see their departments unified at one node for the quantitative sciences, others were concerned that the physical space would be cramped.
The renovations will add two floors to the top of the building and a large concourse at the base of the tower. The concourse space will serve as a quantitatively focused satellite location for the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. The Poorvu Center intends to use the space for programs including peer tutoring, Undergraduate Learning Assistant office hours and teaching workshops for graduate students.
“Much like the Poorvu Center’s existing common areas in Sterling Memorial Library, the flexible Kline Tower space will accommodate a variety of student support programs,” Poorvu Center Executive Director Jennifer Frederick told the News. “I’m especially excited about the convenience of having student learning support located so close to where the teaching takes place.”
Although renovations were initially set to finish last summer,the tower is now scheduled to reopen in the summer of 2023.
Peabody Museum of Natural History renovation
Historic renovations to Yale’s Peabody Museum are also approaching completion.
Renovation began in October 2020, though administrators had reportedly been considering the project for over a decade. The update is the museum’s first comprehensive renovation in over 90 years.
“We are excited to reopen our doors and welcome students and visitors of all ages into new and transformed galleries that better reflect the breadth of our collection, advances in scientific research and the rapidly changing world we live in,” the Museum’s Associate Director of Communications and Marketing Christopher Renton wrote in an email to the News. “We hope the new Yale Peabody Museum is a site of connection for the many communities we serve by feeding public curiosity, inspiring the next generation of scientists and supporting cutting-edge research.”
New classroom spaces throughout the museum will also bring teaching inside the Peabody, providing ample opportunity for hands-on learning with the museum’s extensive collection of objects and specimens.
Primary construction of the museum is on track to finish this December, just before winter recess. Exhibit installation is set to begin the first week of January and continue throughout 2023.
“Thanks to the diligence of museum staff and the hard-working teams at Yale Facilities and Turner Construction, the Yale Peabody renovation remains on track for a reopening of our public galleries in early 2024,” Renton told the News.
When it reopens, admission to the museum will be free to the public.
Physical Sciences and Engineering Building construction
The University will soon break ground on the new Physical Sciences and Engineering Building, which Strobel called “one of the largest facilities projects in university history.”
The Physical Sciences and Engineering Building will serve as a 600,000-square-foot hub for quantum computing, engineering, materials science and advanced instrumentation development.
The PSEB represents a culmination of academic priorities identified in the University’s June 2018 Science Strategy Committee Report and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ 2021 Strategic Vision Report.
“We’re looking forward to the PSEB giving our faculty a state-of-the-art space to conduct their impactful research, particularly in the areas of quantum information and computation, quantum materials and devices and quantum sensing, as well as the fundamental physics and computer science that drive and enable these endeavors,” Brock told the News. “It will be an ideal space to carry out many of the initiatives we’ve outlined in the SEAS Strategic Vision, as well as a nexus for groundbreaking physical sciences and cutting-edge engineering.”
In addition to laboratories, classrooms and a state-of-the-art clean room, the building will be home to the new Advanced Instrumentation Development Center.
“Perhaps most importantly, [the PSEB] will provide interaction spaces for experimentalists and theorists to get together, collaborate and discuss science,” Physics department chair Karsten Heeger told the News. “The ability to co-locate research groups from multiple departments working in neighboring research fields will stimulate new research and novel ideas … It will be transformative for the physical sciences and engineering at Yale.”
The building will be located near Wright Laboratory, north of Bass Center and east of the Class of 1954 Chemistry Research Building. Its footprint will be almost as large as the Yale Bowl.
The PSEB is scheduled to be completed in 2029.
Osborn Memorial Laboratories renovation
The University will soon begin a top-down renovation of Osborn Memorial Laboratories to add new offices, labs and computational space to existing facilities.
The renovations come as part of the University’s new Planetary Solutions Project, which directs significant University resources to address “global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss through the integration of the natural, health, and social sciences, engineering and humanities at Yale.”
The building, which now principally houses biology labs, will soon be home to the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture and the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.
The building will also serve the School of the Environment.
“At the YCNCC, we are very excited about having our permanent home at OML,” the Center’s Managing Director Anna Schuerkmann wrote in an email to the News. “The location is ideal for the Center: situated at the lower end of science hill, with proximity to the science buildings toward the north and other departments and schools toward the south.”
The YCNCC develops new approaches to natural carbon capture and reduction, and the YIBS takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying the biosphere. Both are “critical to addressing the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change,” Strobel wrote.
The renovations are still in the planning stages, with more information to come.
The Divinity School’s “Living Village” construction
The Divinity School’s new Living Village project is another example of the University’s environmental priorities coming to fruition.
The Living Village will be a new graduate housing facility that is both sustainable and regenerative, with a “wide range of green features.” The Village will satisfy the performance standards of the Living Building Challenge, an international sustainable building certification program created in 2006 by the International Living Future Institute.
Green features will include net-positive energy use, recycled and environmentally friendly materials, open courtyards, constructed wetlands and onsite wastewater treatment.
The project is still in the planning stages, but it is expected to break ground in the winter of 2023 with an expected completion date in 2024.
Social Sciences on Hillhouse Avenue construction and renovation
The University has also begun several interconnected social science renovation projects in the Hillhouse Avenue area.
A brand new building at 87 Trumbull Street will provide a unified space for the Economics department and the Tobin Center for Economic Policy.
In the facilities report, Strobel wrote that the new building fits like a “jigsaw puzzle piece” among the surrounding buildings.
The building connects, on all levels, to 28 Hillhouse Avenue and 30 Hillhouse Avenue, the home of the Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics. It also connects on its first floor to the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, thereby creating a “large, interconnected complex for social science research at Yale.”
“The Department looks forward to housing all its faculty under one (large) roof for the first time, the beginning of a new era for the Department,” Economics department chair Tony Smith told the News. “The Tobin Center for Economic Policy and the Department of Economics expect to move into [the building] in time for the spring semester.”
When renovations at 87 Trumbull Street are complete, the University will begin renovating 24 and 37 Hillhouse Avenue, which house the Linguistics department, the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, and the Data-Intensive Social Science Center.
According to Linguistics department chair Raffaella Zanuttini, renovation will start in summer 2023 and should be completed by the end of 2024.
The Linguistics Department will move in as soon as the renovations are finished, possibly as early as December 2024 or January 2025.
Lower Hillhouse renovation
One of the University’s long-term projects is the revitalization of the lower Hillhouse Avenue area over the next decade.
In February, Strobel and University President Peter Salovey announced the creation of the School of Engineering & Applied Science as an autonomous faculty body within the University and the expansion of its faculty by 30 positions.
The lower Hillhouse Avenue renovations will support the continued growth of SEAS.
“Some of the buildings in the lower Hillhouse Avenue area date back to the turn of the last century and need reimagining,” Strobel wrote in the annual facilities report. “Yale is developing a plan to renovate and revitalize the facilities on lower Hillhouse that currently house engineering departments as part of an effort to further the University’s excellence in this field.”
Strobel wrote that the project is similar in scale to the recent Humanities Quadrangle overhaul.
The first of the renovations will be the conversion of Kirtland Hall — which now houses Psychology department offices — into a dedicated classroom building. The project is scheduled to begin in 2023 and conclude the following year.
“We are excited to begin re-envisioning the SEAS campus, contemplating the full range of possibilities for how a newly imagined innovation corridor along lower Hillhouse could transform the presence of engineering and applied science at Yale,” Brock wrote in an email to the News.
Strobel said that more detailed plans for lower Hillhouse will be announced in the coming months.
82-90 Wall Street renovation
At 82-90 Wall Street, the former home of Wall Street Pizza, a comprehensive renovation will provide new modular classroom spaces, an academic lounge, restrooms, exterior social spaces and “connection to the neighboring coffee shop.”
That coffee shop — formerly Blue State Coffee — was recently purchased by Common Grounds Cafe, another small New England chain.
University leaders envision the spaces, which are across the street from Silliman College, as updated homes for the Program in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration and the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration.
According to ER&M chair Ana Ramos-Zayas, the department plans to move into the space “early in 2024.”
“At this point, we’re both excited and still trying to get a sense of how much space we are exactly getting,” Ramos-Zayas wrote in an email to the News. “We are hoping to get more space so that we can continue to grow as a program.”
Ramos-Zayas said that the department is “keeping [its] fingers crossed.”
Corner of Crown and York Streets construction
The University is nearing its fundraising goal to construct a new dramatic arts building at the corner of Crown and York streets.
The new facility will include state-of-the-art theaters, performance spaces and classrooms for the David Geffen School of Drama, the Yale Repertory Theatre and the Theater, Dance & Performance Studies Program.
The building will also provide new rehearsal space for the Yale Dramatic Association. Faculty and students welcomed the proposal, which is still in a design phase, as a much-needed overhaul and described current spaces as “terrible” and “falling apart.”
“We expect the new facility will include a proscenium theater with a fly tower and orchestra pit, a studio theater, green rooms, rehearsal studios and production shops,” Strobel wrote. “It will usher in a new era of talent and storytelling in New Haven, while growing Yale’s tradition of artistic accomplishment.”
The building will soon enter the pre-design stage, which will last about two years.
100 College Street renovation
On the University’s southern end, a major renovation across seven floors of 100 College Street will bridge the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Yale School of Medicine to explore the frontiers of the mind.
The FAS Department of Psychology and the School of Medicine’s Department of Neuroscience will co-inhabit the new space alongside the new Wu Tsai Institute, which synthesizes these disciplines to facilitate breakthroughs in human understanding of cognition and neuroscience.
The new institute was first announced in February 2021 following a donation from Joseph Tsai ’86, JD ’90 and Clara Wu Tsai, his wife.
“Dramatic renovations at 100 College Street are rapidly transforming seven empty floors covering hundreds of thousands of square feet into a modern research building,” psychology professor and the Institute’s inaugural director Nicholas Turk-Browne wrote in an email to the News. “The building is designed to connect the biological study of molecules, cells and circuits to the psychological study of brain, mind and behavior. These complementary approaches will be bridged through the computational study of algorithms, models and systems toward an integrated understanding of cognition.”
Turk-Browne said that some of the floors are nearing completion while others remain at earlier stages of development. The renovations are expected to conclude in the late spring or summer of 2023.
According to Brown, the design of the building reflects the conceptual integration of disciplines involved in the study of the brain. The new building will feature open stairwells, common spaces, classrooms and shared research facilities with cutting-edge equipment and technology.
101 College Street construction
Construction next door at 101 College Street has just begun as well. The building will serve as an incubator space for local biotech startups.
Neither 100 nor 101 College Street is owned by Yale, but the University aims to be “an anchor tenant in both facilities,” according to Strobel’s statement, and will lease out approximately 125,000 square feet.
This project is intended to help New Haven continue to develop as a national hub for life sciences innovation and research.
“This will be the start of a new and growing neighborhood of Yale’s campus in downtown New Haven, connecting the central and medical areas in the service of interdisciplinary research and education,” Turk-Browne told the News.
New Haven Works, an organization that seeks to connect city residents to good jobs, established a partnership agreement for 101 College Street that gives preferential consideration in hiring to residents of the adjacent Hill and Dwight neighborhoods.