October 6, 2015

Ag Quad Renovations to Cost $9.6 Million

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A $9.6 million plan to renovate the infrastructure and landscaping of the Ag Quad will begin the summer of 2016 and is slated to be completed ahead of the 2017-18 academic year.

The project will be completed in two phases, with the first phase focused on the infrastructure of the quad and the second phase focused on the landscaping, according to David Cutter, the University’s Landscape Architect.

The renovation of the infrastructure, which will begin next summer, will dig up walkways around the quad in order to replace several underground utility corridors, Cutter said.

In addition to a new working underground, the renovation plans include the installation of new lighting, additional blue lights for security, a rain garden and social working spaces for students, Cutter added.

In particular, the social working spaces, which will be small plazas in front of Mann Library and Roberts Hall, will have benches and tables for students to use, Cutter said.

“[The Ag Quad has] been abused for the last few years, so [the renovations are] truly needed to improve the area,” Cutter said. “We can take care of aging infrastructure and utilities, and it’s an opportunity to improve the walkways and look of the Ag Quad.”

The project, budgeted for $9.6 million, will be funded by several sources, according to University architect Gilbert Delgado. The funding will primarily come from the Cornell University Utilities, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and private funding, he said.

Construction for the project will only take place during the  summers of 2016 and 2017 in order to be the least disruptive to students, according to Cutter.

He added that the project had been talked about for years, but will finally see action now that funds are available.

“It’s been an ongoing thing,” Cutter said. “I’ve been working at Cornell since 2007, and ever since I started, this was one of the projects I’ve seen as a priority.”

Other projects on the Ag Quad, such as construction on Warren Hall and Mann Library, prevented the rehabilitation of the quad landscape from taking place sooner, according to Cutter.

Delgado said he guided and oversaw the design of the rehabilitation project before sending it off to the Board of Trustees for approval.

After completion of the project, the landscaping will incorporate student work, according to Cutter. Previously, the planting around the perimeter of the quad had been designed, installed and monitored by students. In addition, Cutter said students will be able to design a new garden in the 2017 academic year.

“The Ag Quad is one of the most significant public spaces on campus, and it also serves as a teaching laboratory,” Delgado said. “We are excited to bring it up to its former glory. We’re very happy with the design and are excited to start construction.”