Cornellians returning to their dorms on West Campus for the spring semester may notice a change: a now-empty lot facing Cook House.
Over winter break, construction on Cornell’s campus included the demolition of a building on West Campus — 722 University Avenue — and a newly renovated Barton Hall.
“[722 University] had been mostly used by a wide range of fraternities and sororities over the last century,” said Corey Earle ’07, former lecturer of the course American Studies 2001: The First American University.
The building was home to the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity between 1949 and 1985, before it moved to its current location on Ridgewood Road. Since then, it had also been home to the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity, the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and finally Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity. However, it has stood vacant for the past decade, according to The Ithaca Voice.
The University’s decision to tear down the building was due to significant damage that prevented any sort of reuse of the building.
“The building at 722 University Avenue suffered from considerable abuse and damage, sat vacant for 10 years and increasingly posed a nuisance and safety risk,” said John Carberry, senior director of media relations.
He added that the cost of renovating the site was “prohibitively high” and that there are no long-term plans for the lot.
“I always liked the unique style of the roof lines, but the building was definitely showing its age and lack of upkeep, and I can understand the University’s decision,” Earle said.
Beyond West Campus, construction on campus also included the renovation of Barton Hall. This renovation has finished, according to Chris Davenport, the associate project manager.
“The construction at Barton Hall is complete and the building has been reopened for full use. The construction completed on December 23, 2016 and the building formally re-opened on January 3, 2017,” said Davenport.
Aelya Ehtasham ’19 contributed reporting to this article.