April 11, 2013

Construction on Klarman Hall Set to Begin in Summer 2013

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After much discussion and planning, the construction of Klarman Hall — a 33,250-square-foot building that will be adjacent to Goldwin Smith Hall — is on track to begin this summer  and be completely finished by late 2015, according to officials in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Cornell announced it would build Klarman Hall in October 2011. The building will be the first built for the humanities since Goldwin Smith opened in 1905.

According to Susan Robertson, director of communications for the arts college, Klarman Hall will create more space for the college’s admissions, advising and humanities departments

“It will provide much needed space for the increase in the college’s humanities faculty, which is a result of the college’s success in the faculty renewal hiring initiative, as well as the overall expansion of the humanities at Cornell in the last hundred years,” Robertson said.

Prof. Scott MacDonald ’78 Ph.D. ’86, philosophy, chair of the Sage School of Philosophy, said he thinks Klarman — which will have 124 faculty offices — will “go some way toward alleviating the space shortage in the College of Arts and Sciences.”

“I don’t think it’ll solve the space problem entirely, but it’s a step in the right direction,” MacDonald added.

A major goal of the building, administrators said, is to increase the visibility and presence of the humanities on campus.

Peter Lepage, dean of the arts college, said in an Oct. 2011 University press release that Klarman Hall “will symbolically and physically welcome the rest of the campus to participate in the humanities and arts at Cornell.”

For instance, Klarman will house the Department of Romance studies — which is currently housed in Morrill Hall — “in order to bring all the literature departments into one building,” Robertson said.

MacDonald said he thinks the building, when completed, will serve as a “nice iconic space for the College of Arts and Sciences.”

“The college needs a space like that,” MacDonald said. “It will be a focal point for not just the humanities but the college in general.”

For instance, MacDonald said, Klarman Hall may redirect traffic “from further up the Hill to the Arts Quad.”

“I think when it’s finished, people will tend to go through Goldwin Smith rather than around it, making Goldwin Smith more of a thoroughfare,” MacDonald said.

Similarly, Robertson said she sees Klarman — and particularly its central atrium — as “a major crossroads for students and faculty from all over campus.”

The $61 million it will cost to build Klarman Hall will be completely funded by philanthropy.

Lindsay Ruth, associate dean of alumni affairs for the College of Arts and Sciences, said the donations to finance Klarman Hall were “a necessity as the University came out of the economic downturn.”

“We are very pleased with the tremendous support that alumni and student families have shown for this building. Without their generosity, this project would not have proceeded,” Ruth said.

MacDonald said Klarman Hall will be an “beautiful” addition to the Arts Quad.

“I think it’ll be a beautiful space, continuing the development of East Avenue – along with the new physical sciences building and the redesign of Lincoln Hall — in a very positive way, so architecturally that’s a good thing,” MacDonald said.

Robertson echoed MacDonald’s sentiment, saying Klarman will act as a “gateway to the Arts Quad from East Avenue.”

“[It will] provide an iconic indoor space for faculty and students to gather. Its innovative and sustainable design will be a major architectural addition to the Cornell campus,” Robertson said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Klarman Hall is an addition to Goldwin Smith; in fact, it is a separate building that will be adjacent to Goldwin Smith. The story also stated that the building will have 124 faculty offices. In fact, it will have 124 faculty office-sized spaces.

Original Author: Sarah Meyers