Photo courtesy of the Ithaca Planning and Development Board.

An ariel view of the proposed changed to the Ag quad.

February 25, 2016

Planning Board Discusses Remodeling Hughes Hall, Ag Quad

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The City of Ithaca Planning and Development Board discussed the remodeling of Hughes Hall and the revitalization of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Quad on Tuesday.

According to University architect Gilbert Delgado, the Hughes Hall project aims to meet the spatial needs of faculty and students and improve exterior aesthetics of Cornell Law School.


Photo Courtesy of Karly Krasnow

The Ithaca Planning Board discusses renovations to Cornell’s campus at a meeting Tuesday.

The renovation will largely focus on a new enclosed loggia connecting Hughes Hall to Myron Taylor Hall and a new staircase of the west side of Hughes Hall. The loggia should provide better access from Hughes Hall to the Berger Atrium and create more open spaces that enhance way-finding through the facility, according to Delgado.

He added that, funds permitting, the University plans to repair the dining terrace near the Fork and Gavel Cafe “to have a more spacious and modern eatery and event space.”

The Hughes Hall construction is planned for the summer to not interfere with traffic during the academic year. An estimated completion date has been set for July 2017, according to project documents.

The Board also discussed the Ag Quad Utility Infrastructure Upgrades and Landscape Revitalization Project. Delgado explained that maintenance on the Ag quad will provide an opportunity to improve its appearance.

“A fair amount of utility work needs to happen in the Ag Quad and because of that we have the opportunity to revitalize the quad’s aesthetic,” he said.

Davies Orinda, project manager for Contract Colleges Facilities, further explained that the project is necessary because the existing pathways have deteriorated extensively over the years.

The main components of the plan are utility infrastructure upgrades and landscaping revitalization including adding security lighting, according to Delgado.

“Parts of the quad are very dark at night, there are only two high light fixtures now,” Delgado said. “We need to have more distributive lighting to provide a more pleasing environment at night and enhance our security of the overall area.”

The project also requires 15 trees to be removed from the quad as they stand in the way of utility repairs and the fire apparatus access path, according to Orinda.

“These trees all have a specific need or purpose that lead us to make the decision to remove them,” he said.

Orinda added that once all the maintenance in the quad is done that the University will be planting shrubs and 54 trees of various species to create a more diverse area.

“We still want to maintain the historical views of the Ag quad,” Orinda stated, adding that although the Ag quad may change, the structural and atmospheric integrity will remain the same. ­­­