News Tidbits 9/19/09: Stocking Hall’s Long Awaited Reconstruction is Approved — Dairy Plant to Shut Down

19 09 2009

The Dairy Bar as we know it will soon be no more. According to Cornell, the new Stocking Hall will start construction next September. The $105 million project will last approximately four years (meaning that no current student will see it through to its full fruition while an undergrad…probably not even the kids in the class of 2014). The project calls for tearing down the east portion of the building and building a new glass-fronted modernist four-story structure. The older portion of the building (the part that actually looks attractive) will be refurbished. In the meanwhile, the Dairy Bar will temporarily be moved to Trillium while construction is in progress.

The project was originally slated to begin this year, but was pushed back amid concerns with state budget cuts (i.e. lass money allocated to CALS programs) and adequate funding for the project.

MINOR UPDATE: I think this is the first time I ever heard the project come up in a fraternity meeting, but it was announced at the end of the meeting with the same tone one would expect to hear that Christmas has been cancelled until 2014. I have underestimated people’s love of the Dairy Bar. I also did not account for the fact that Cornell is laying off all Cornell Dairy employees.

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http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Sept09/StockingHall.html

CALS plans major renovation of Stocking Hall

With $105 million from the State University Construction Fund, Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) will build a new four-story building to replace Stocking Hall’s “runway” and refurbish Stocking Hall, starting September 2010, to give the Department of Food Science and the landmark Cornell Dairy Bar state-of-the art homes.

The innovative design — including a glass-fronted Dairy Bar and dairy plant and ground-floor laboratories for wine production and sensory studies of food — will invite the public to learn more about food and dairy processing. From an observational balcony above the Dairy Plant, visitors will have a bird’s-eye view as Cornell ice cream, milk, pudding and yogurt move from processing to pasteurization to packaging.

The four-year project calls for demolishing and rebuilding the middle “runway” portion of Stocking Hall, the Dairy Bar and dairy plant along Tower Road with the new four-story building; the Stocking Hall “tower” on Wing Drive will be refurbished. The more modern Food Science Lab, at Tower and Judd Falls roads, will operate as a food processing research facility while reconstruction occurs.

Stocking Hall, which dates to 1923, will be outfitted with new laboratories for the study of connections between foods and human health, food safety, and food and biomaterial processing. Other highlights include a campus teaching winery and crush pad for viticulture and enology students, and modern classrooms and networked meeting spaces.

“The Stocking Hall renovation project presents a timely opportunity for Cornell’s nationally top-ranked food science program to provide the campus and Ithaca communities with a better understanding of how food moves from the field to the marketplace,” said Kathryn Boor, food science chair. “Citizens around the globe are increasingly interested in where their food comes from and how it is handled, processed and marketed.”

Boor said the overhaul would improve research and extension directed at dairy and food processors, and expand training for inspectors from the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, as well as state-authorized certified milk inspectors. A modernized facility will also allow CALS to compete for more food safety, quality and processing research funds from federal and state agencies and private companies.

“Because our program conducts research and outreach aimed at improving dairy product quality and safety and wine quality, this renovation project will directly contribute to improving the viability of the New York dairy and wine industries, which are typified by family-owned and -operated businesses,” Boor said.

The Dairy Plant’s ice cream freezer, outdated tanks and pasteurization equipment will be replaced with computer-controlled machinery capable of transmitting data directly from the floor of the plant to the Web for access by employees, researchers and students.

“The redesign of Stocking Hall will make our day-to-day operations more efficient, allowing us more time and resources to focus on our core mission of supporting teaching, research and extension,” said Jason Huck, general manager of the Dairy Plant.

Next summer, the Cornell Dairy Bar will move to a temporary scooping station in Kennedy Hall’s Trillium Express to make way for construction. Once the first phase of construction is complete in 2013, the iconic Dairy Bar will reopen in Stocking Hall with a revived look and an expanded menu and seating.

Each year, the dairy processes 1.5 million pounds of raw milk from cows at the Cornell Dairy Teaching and Research Center in Harford, N.Y. It produces 140,000 gallons of milk, 20,000 gallons of ice cream, and 4,000 gallons of yogurt and pudding annually. About 80 percent of these products are featured at Cornell Dining locations, while the remainder is distributed to Cornell group houses and departments.

***

Dear Food Science Faculty, Staff and Students,

With the Stocking Hall renovation project entering the last third of the design phase, and with project time lines becoming firm, we are beginning to prepare for ground-breaking for our new building, now less than 12 months away.

The fact is that the current Dairy Bar and Dairy Plant stand in the direct path of a wrecking ball.  In September 2010, the building in which these operations reside will be razed to make room for a new, state-of-the-art Food Science building. The finished renovation project will reveal a new dairy research and manufacturing facility as well as a new food service facility that will serve Cornell Dairy ice cream and more.
Together with CALS senior leadership, the Food Science Department has developed plans for continuing our core teaching, research and outreach programs during the renovation period.  As you know, the Dairy Operations is an integral component of our Food Science program, contributing to undergraduate and graduate instruction in food science; to basic and applied dairy foods research; to public service through extension programs; and as a designated training facility for New York State Certified Milk Inspectors, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Market Inspectors, and the dairy industry.  In addition, the Cornell Dairy supports many other academic programs (including many College of Engineering courses) and serves as an icon to much of the Cornell community, old and new, in Ithaca and beyond.

Due to budgetary constraints, it is not feasible nor practical to construct an interim dairy manufacturing plant or Dairy Bar during the renovation period. Therefore, we are facing at least 3-4 years from the time when demolition starts until we have a new dairy plant and food service operation up and running.  Specifically, as of June 18th, 2010, the Dairy Bar in Stocking Hall will close its doors and the Dairy Plant in Stocking Hall will eliminate its manufacturing operations.  The staff positions associated with these operations will also end, and those holding these positions will be laid off.

Although it is more than 9 months until the Dairy Bar and Dairy Plant activities will be directly affected by the renovation project, it is our intent to openly communicate the future direction of the Dairy Operations to our entire team and to the community. Our goal is to provide our staff with appropriate resources and support. The Department and CALS Human Resources will assist our staff through this difficult transition.

As our department embarks on a challenging period of change and uncertainty in the face of hope for a better future, our vision is to provide long-term sustainability to our dairy foods research and outreach program within CALS.  We believe that we’re moving in that direction, but it will come at considerable cost to our team.  We appreciate your assistance in helping us to support our staff and our program through this challenging and emotionally difficult period.
Please do not hesitate to let me, Matt Stratton or Jason Huck know if you have any questions about our situation.

Sincerely,

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