September 27, 2006

Board Reviews Cornell’s Construction Planning

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The City of Ithaca’s Planning and Development Board met yesterday in City Hall to review plans for two of Cornell’s major construction projects and a proposal for a new apartment building in Collegetown.
Cornell’s two projects consisted of phase four of the West Campus Residential Initiative and plans for the new Physical Sciences Building, which is to be placed between Baker Laboratory, Clark Hall and Rockefeller Hall.
Andrew Magre ’90, architect and project manager, opened up the site plan review, obtaining a unanimous final approval from the Board to combine phases four and five of WCI. By combining the two phases, he seeks to complete the construction of House 4 and 5 at the same time, which will shorten the completion date of WCRI by 18 months.
House 4 and 5 are two unnamed residential buildings that will join the West Campus community. House 4 will contain two residential wings and a dining hall, while House 5 will contain one residential wing and a dining hall.
John Schroeder ’74, chair of the board, proposed a couple of issues including the current lack of a path from a stairway above Stewart Ave. to the steps behind the World War I memorial at the base of Libe Slope. He suggested preserving one of the stairways leading to the Gothics, which is now slated to be rebuilt to improve emergency access.
Schroeder, a production manager at The Sun, proposes to instead find a way around the steps because, “it is a part of Cornell’s architecture. I think it should be preserved.”
The reconstruction of the stairs will go through another review.
Mike Husar, architect and project manager of the Physical Sciences Building, reviewed the environmental impacts of his project. Some of the issues addressed were the energy and natural resources impact, the historical and archaeological impact, and the public health impact. The biggest issue was the transportation impact. The construction of this building will eliminate 38 parking spaces and is in line with Cornell’s push toward the use of public transportation.
Jane Marcham, Board member, said, “For anyone familiar with Cornell’s transportation plan, it’s okay,” but that for visitors, Ithacans and people with disabilities, it is an issue.
The Board finished the site plan review approving the preliminary site plan for a new apartment building at 320 Dryden Road in Collegetown. According to Jagat Sharma, architect, the existing three-story family dwelling will be demolished and replaced with a four-story brick building.
The apartment will contain 16 units and will hold 40 beds, a laundry facility and a fitness center and will be surrounded with landscape and a parking lot with 15 spaces.
Nick Lambrou, applicant for owner, said, “I just think it’s a perfect fit for its size and for the area.”