August 30, 2000

North Dorm Construction Continues on Schedule

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North campus residents arrived on the hill this fall to find some significant changes both inside and outside their residence halls.

Court and Mews residence halls, currently under construction on the former Helen Newman field, have reached their full height, and masons have begun fitting Court Hall with its stone exterior. Workers will install windows and roofs and continue building the exterior “as long as weather permits,” according to Jean Reese, project leader for the North Campus Residential Initiative. During the winter, work will shift to the interior.

The Community Commons, the second north campus community center, is also rising. Its steel structure already skims the sky and the first floor decking is complete.

Overall, the construction work is continuing on schedule, Reese said. According to the plan, construction of the new residence halls, community center and fields will conclude in July 2001, ready for the class of 2005.

Approximately two thousand freshmen currently live on North campus. That’s two-thirds of the freshman class – a percentage that hasn’t changed from last year, according to Reese. All freshmen students will reside on North Campus next fall.

Existing residence halls were also modified over the summer. Crews are still completing detail work such as painting in Clara Dickson Hall, Low Rise Seven and Low Rise Nine, according to Reese.

Through the construction, Dickson Hall and the Multicultural Living Learning Unit (McLLU) have formed a new entity called the Dickson- McLLU Complex, or DMC.

Office spaces for the RHD and student staff council in Dickson, as well as central lounge spaces on floors three, four and five were added. Lounge space is “something that Dickson has sorely needed for years,” according to Reese.

Student response to the construction in DMC is varied. Because bedrooms had to be removed to create the central space, phone and internet wiring were affected in neighboring rooms, leaving some students without phone or internet service until August 21.

“I wish [the construction] could’ve been done over the summer,” said Jesse Chen ’02. “A lot of us . . . didn’t have phone or internet access the first week,” he said.

“It gives people a central place to gather,” said the three-year Dickson resident. “They’ll be a nice addition but I don’t think they were necessary,” he added.

Other residence halls also have new features. The new Faculty-in-Residence apartment in Low Rise Seven will be completed in early September, Reese said. The apartment has not been assigned to a faculty member this year, so it will be used as guest housing, such as when A.D. White professors come to campus. Instead of staying at the Statler Hotel, they can rest in the apartment and interact with students.

Low Rise Nine was renovated to accommodate the Just About Music program house, which moved from Class of ’26 hall on West campus this year. Construction of the recording studio and isolation room is still underway, and a big change to the existing structure is the addition of a large performance space, according to Reese.

Other program houses underwent improvements as well. The Language House moved to Boldt Hall on West Campus, and the Latino Living Center took over its space in Anna Comstock Hall.

Changes have occurred off campus as well. The historic Cradit-Moore house was moved down Pleasant Grove Road approximately seven-tenths of a mile. The $200,000 process of putting the house on hydraulic lifts took a couple months, but the actual move occurred in just one day, on May 23, according to Scott Whitam, MLA ’90, executive director of Historic Ithaca.

“The house not only survived but it really [was] done very very well,” he said. “The house is much more stable on its new foundation.”

Historic Ithaca is getting the house appraised and setting up the legal purchase offering, and the house should be on the real estate market in about a month, Whitam said.

“It will be great to have it a family home again,” he added.

In addition, local alumni will host “home suppers,” inviting groups of six, eight or 10 students to dinner, Reese said.

Pilot programs for freshmen this fall include a Donlon Fellows program, in which four faculty members representing disciplines in economics, humanities, human development and international labor relations will hold three programs per semester related to their discipline. Seventy five students signed up for the program during Orientation Week.

“It’s just another way to involve students with faculty outside the classroom,” Reese said.

Emeritus professors, current professors and TAs are also getting involved. They will eat meals with students to have casual conversations and share their expertise, Reese said.

Plans for a Freshman Resource Center also progressed over the summer. It will be located in Balch Hall, in the space vacated by Balch Dining, which closed last spring. The Center will serve as a “first stop shop for first year students,” according to Reese, and its main focus will be academic program support.

Archived article by Heather Schroeder