April 18, 2007

Construction Interrupts Daily Life on Campus

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The sight of construction has become commonplace on the Cornell campus, especially for anyone traveling to or from North Campus, studying in Mann library or taking a class in Bailey Hall. However, with arrival of spring (on the calendar, if not in the weather forecast) many of the construction projects that have become so familiar are nearing an end.
Bailey Hall, where the new lecture auditorium has been functioning since last August, is gaining a pedestrian plaza. The plaza was started in March and should be completed by the opening of classes in August, according to Stephen Golding, the executive vice president for finance and administration. As of now, the project is on schedule.
“Things seem to be progressing pretty well,” said David Newman, director of construction management. “They’re going to look at the stone that’s being quarried, and they’re taking care of underground utilities now in preparation for when the weather breaks.”
The construction in Mann Library, to increase floor space and build an atrium and cafe, is also on schedule. According to Golding, the building’s construction should be completed by May, and the interior space assembled over the summer.
“We hope to have [Mann Library] completed about the time the trustees are on campus for the trustee meeting and for graduation,” said Golding. “Then we’ll start moving the furniture in and putting it back together.”
According to Golding, construction on the Thurston Avenue Bridge is progressing as planned.
“It is supposed to be completed by the time students return to campus in August,” he said. “There will probably be some work that is still ongoing but the expectation is that the bridge will be open and available for use by late August. As of now [it] is on schedule.”
Because of its central location on campus, some students continue to be bothered by the inconvenience the construction causes.
“I still haven’t gotten used to it,” said Katie Post ’09, who lives in the Pi Phi house on North Campus, “What it comes down to is it just takes longer to get to class, and if you’re late you can’t take the bus because it takes just as long.”
While these projects are winding down, several new projects just beginning. The proposed William H. Gates Hall, paid for by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is in the planning stages, according to Golding.
“We’re still in the process of determining exactly what the size of the building and its configuration will be,” he said.
According to Christine Carstensen, the Gates Hall project manager, the building will be designed to bring together different units on campus.
“It’s for Computing and Information Sciences,” said Carstensen. “So it’s a conglomeration of different groups brought together in one building for that purpose.”
The new architecture building, Milstein, is progressing as well, although still in the very early stages, according to Golding.
“We have the design, and we’re working our way through the permitting process,” said Golding, “and that too is, at this juncture, on schedule.”