News Tidbits 8/27/13: Gannett Expansion Gets Greenlighted

27 08 2013


With the donation of $5 million from the chair of trustees Robert Harrison ’76 to launch the fund raising aspect of the project, the Gannett expansion has now solidified into a concrete project in the planning stages. Initial plans call for an increase in the size of the building from 38,000 sq ft to 96,000 sq ft, and a targeted completion date for October 2017 (which means the vast majority of kids that just started at Cornell this week will never see the building completed while students at Ezra’s university). I imagine that, giving a year or so for construction, and an expected price tag of $55 million (one-third of which will be funded via donations), that a couple of years of fund raising is more than enough time for some deep-pocketed alumni to throw their cash into the kitty, and end up with a waiting room or doctor’s office named for them in return.  Gannett Health Center opened its doors in 1955 (named for Frank Gannett 1898, the mid-century media titan), and expanded in 1979.

Proposals to expand Gannett have been floating around since at least 2005, and shows up in Cornell’s 2008 master plan. At the time, the plan called for a 90,000-130,000 sq ft building, which means that the above firm proposal falls within those nascent specifications. HOLT architects did a 2007 design study proposing a 119,000 sq ft building. It’s nice to see this one come out of the hazy ether of vague proposals and become a formal proposal. The next question, of course, will be what the design of the structure will be. Given the university’s trend, my inclination is to expect another hypermodern box.

Update 8/28: Ithaca Builds’ Jason Henderson has kindly passed on a link from Chiang O’Brien, a local firm started in 2012 by some former employees of also Ithaca-based HOLT Architects. The two follow similar themes, simple forms but big on geometric detailing, and most of their designs could be described as revamped modern or hypermodern. Looking at their website, I see some massing diagrams of the current facility, but nothing yet for what’s planned.




5 responses

27 08 2013

Looks like Chiang O’Brien Architects is on the job, they’ve got a conceptual render here posted under their Current Work section:

28 08 2013
B. C.

Hi Jason, thanks for checking this out and passing on the link. From what I can tell from going through images of the current Gannett as well as the images on Chiang O’Brien’s website, they appear to be massing renders of the current building. I will keep an eye on the website in case there are any updates. Thanks again!

19 11 2013
Rich '13

Is it definite that the building will be replaced, not expanded? It’d be a real bummer to lose the mural in the lobby…

20 11 2013
B. C.

Most of the current building will be renovated while the addition is built. It seems like a small portion of the old structure may be removed (30,000 sq ft ill be renovated. Either someone’s using different figures, or 8,000 sq ft is being removed).

Click to access edited%20Trustee%20Report_June%2013%2017.pdf

We can probably expect the expanded building’s design/renderings to be released late this winter.

31 01 2014
The New Gannett Student Health Center | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] previously noted, the addition will add about 38,000 sq ft to Gannett, for a total of 96,000 sq ft. The projected cost is $55 million, and the target […]

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