November 30, 2015

Hughes Hall Renovation Plans Reviewed

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Through a planned renovation of Hughes Hall, the University intends to replace the current residence hall for first-year law students with administrative and event spaces.

The renovation, discussed at Tuesday’s City of Ithaca Planning and Development Board meeting, is the second part of a three-phase renovation plan for the Cornell Law School. The first phase, completed last fall, included an addition to Myron Taylor Hall that consisted of underground academic space and a new auditorium.

The remodeling will focus on three new features: enclosing the open-air loggia that currently connects Hughes Hall with Myron Taylor Hall, adding a staircase to the west side of Hughes Hall and repaving the dining terrace by the Fork and Gavel Café, Gilbert Delgado, University architect, told the board.

Inside Hughes Hall, administrative offices and event spaces will be located on the lower floors, while the upper floors will house new offices for the law school’s faculty. The building will no longer maintain its current designation as a residence hall due to the renovation.

Delgado said he hopes to use “architecture that harmonizes [with] what’s there, but that’s also of its time” in Hughes Hall’s redesign.

Though staging and construction will occur away from major thoroughfares, Delgado said there are plans to close the pedestrian walkway that passes between the Fork and Gavel Cafe and Cascadilla Gorge Trail for the remodeling of the dining terrace.

“The intention is to keep this pedestrian walkway open, with an exception of a couple of instances,” Delgado said. “One of these instances is the terrace. Our intention is to try and focus that work in the summer months [so the path isn’t blocked during busy months].”

The Hughes Hall renovation will seek to gain at least Silver certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program from the U.S. Green Building Council. The council awarded the first phase of the renovation with Platinum certification, the highest possible accreditation, last December.

Delgado said preliminary plans for his renovations will be delivered to the board for review in January.

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