Cornell Law School Renovation Update, 1/2017

17 01 2017

From the outside, it doesn’t look like much is happening. But, given all the steel beams on site, the safe bet is that the former dorms inside are still being gutted to nothing but the load-bearing walls, and those beams will become a part of the new interior partitions, new stud walls for the enhanced faculty office and professional space. This is by and large an interior renovation, but perhaps after the deepest cold of the season passes, we’ll see more progress towards enclosing the loggia and the new stairwell on the west face. The wire mesh over the exposed west wall is for safety reasons.

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Cornell Veterinary School Expansion Construction Update, 1/2017

17 01 2017

Starting to see more progress on the structural frame of the $74.1 million Vet School additions. The reinforced concrete frame of the new library and administrative offices now extends all the way back to the rest of the Vet School complex; the new section is draped over with plastic sheets. Also, as the new wing gets fleshed out, the rough openings of the windows are taking shape. It doesn’t look like there’s been too much exterior progress on the new atrium.

According to the project webpage (last updated two weeks ago), interior framing (metal stud walls probably) is underway, rough-ins are underway, and the new cafeteria is under construction. Welliver will have the new atrium and lecture hall fully closed up by the end of January. Most of the Vet Research Tower work has been completed, but new office layouts are still in the works for the sixth and seventh floors, and that work won’t get underway until this Spring.

The new $7 million ($4.9 million hard cost) Community Practice Service Building is out for bid, with a march demo planned for the Poultry Virus Building currently on site, and a March 2018 opening, about seven months after the bulk of the new Vet School structures. It is a wood-frame 12,000 SF building designed by HOLT Architects, and I still have yet to find an image of the design.

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209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 12/2016

14 12 2016

Cornell’s Breazzano Family Center at 209-215 Dryden Road is closed up for the winter. Literally, with white plastic sheeting, as a protective measure against the elements while interior work moves along. The plywood holes on the front and back sides are removable so that a lift can deliver materials to different floors of the 6-story building. One can make out the dramatic entry foyer above the steel stretching out the sheeting above the ground floor. Note that the height of the building, 80 feet, is the maximum permitted under Collegetown’s form zoning (MU-2, up to 6 floors or up to 80 feet).

The plan is to have the new 76,300 SF building open by Summer 2017. Hayner Hoyt Corporation of Syracuse is the general contractor.

After the last Breazzano update a couple months ago, I had contacted Cornell to do a piece about the expanding Executive MBA program, what’s driving the growth, why Collegetown, and so on…but after being led around or misled by several emails over a few weeks, I gave up on the piece. For what it’s worth, Poets and Quants did a thoughtful article and interview here with the Johnson School Dean, Soumitra Dutta, talking about the future of the MBA program and the business school merger with the Dyson/AEM program and the Hotel School. Maybe I’d have had better luck if I just sidestepped Cornell’s PR unit.

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Cornell Veterinary School Expansion Construction Update, 11/2016

23 11 2016

Definitely seeing a lot of progress on the Vet School Expansion. The new glass curtain wall on the Vet Research Tower is nearly complete, and the final finishes are due to wrap up by the end of the month. The new library/dean’s wing by the front entrance is undergoing interior framing and utilities installation. The new atrium and lecture hall are now visible from the street, now that some of the structural steel has been erected. Floor slabs and roof decking are also being laid.

The new atrium and lecture hall are expected to be closed up by January, and the whole $74 million project is aiming for an August 2017 opening. The Community Practice Service Building, a separate $7 million project on the Vet School campus, is expected to start construction in early next year with a completion in late fall 2017.

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Upson Hall Construction Update, 11/2016

22 11 2016

Because of the multi-phased, tiered buildout of Upson Hall’s renovation, it’s easy to miss the changes. For example, in the first photo, there really haven’t been any exterior changes to the fourth or fifth floor, but on the third floor, there’s been significant progress – the old stone has been removed, the new stud walls have been erected, gypsum-based glass mat sheathing has been laid and waterproofed, and new windows have been fitted. You can see the latest batch of exterior wall progress on the third floor of the west face, third photo below. The first and second floors have had their old exteriors stripped as well, but at the moment the frame is exposed. The interior has been gutted and new utilities rough-ins are being routed.

On the side facing the Engineering Quad, the progress has been similar – the third floor has seen the most work recently as the renovations work their way from top to bottom. Turning to the east face, sheathing extends to the bottom floor, and it looks like an aluminum roof cap has been installed on the new bump-out. The general contractor for Upson is The Pike Company, which is touting the project with computer-generated images of construction staging on its front webpage.
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Cornell Law School Renovation Update, 11/2016

22 11 2016

Introducing a new project to work into the rotation – work has begun on Cornell Law’s renovations of Hughes Hall. Coincidentally, I broke this story for the Voice almost a year ago to this date.

In Summer 2012, the Cornell Law program embarked on a three-phase renovation and expansion program to their facilities. The first phase was a 17,500 SF, mostly-subterranean addition of an auditorium space, two large-group classrooms. foyer space, and a renovated courtyard. Designed by Boston-based Ann Beha Architects and constructed by Welliver, that $23.8 million phase, certified LEED Platinum, was completed in late summer 2014. Plans for phase II came forth in November 2015, and were approved by the city this past March. Phase III, which calls for renovations to the law school library, has yet to be presented.

Hughes Hall was built by the university in 1963 and named for former professor Charles Evans Hughes. Hughes only spent two years at Cornell, partially because of the need to make better money from private practice, and partially because of familial pressures to leave behind a “one-horse town like Ithaca”. He would later serve as governor and a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Hughes was a source of inspiration for mid-20th century megadonor Myron Taylor, and so the new law school dorms were named in his honor. The building served as the dorm and dining facility for the law school until 2005, when the first and second floors were renovated for administrative and faculty office space.

The Hughes Hall remodeling will have three basic components: enclosing the open-air loggia that currently connects Hughes Hall with Myron Taylor Hall, adding a staircase to the west side of Hughes Hall, and repaving the dining terrace by the Fork and Gavel CafĂ©. Administrative offices and event spaces will be on the lower floors, and faculty offices on the upper floors. The renovations will be seeking LEED Silver certification – this is two levels lower than the LEED Platinum of phase one, but it’s a lot easier and cheaper to achieve energy savings when a project is underground.

As a result of the remodeling, the last law school dorm units, totaling 47 student beds, were removed. At the time this was announced, Maplewood had yet to come forth, and I did a rare editorial for the Voice calling Cornell out on a lack of planning and poor stewardship. Minor site plan and landscaping improvements are planned.

Design work is by KSS Architects, with offices in Princeton and Philadelphia. Frequent Cornell collaborator Welliver will serve as the general contractor. The project is expected to cost about $10.2 million and take about 13 months to complete. The project was initially slated to begin in June 2016 and wrap up in July 2017, but it appears the construction launch ended up being a few months later than anticipated.

In the photos below, some of the exterior stone veneer has been stripped from the wall, and on the lower levels the windows and some of the concrete masonry wall has been removed. This will be where the new glass-enclosed staircase will go. Work on closing up the loggia has yet to start.

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Cornell Ag Quad Rehabilitation Construction Update, 11/2016

21 11 2016

It’s that time of the month – construction updates will be forthcoming over the next several days.

On Cornell’s campus, work on the Ag Quad renovation continues. The eastern half of the quad, closer to Mann Library, is mostly complete – phase one of two. There weren’t as many underground utilities to lay in the eastern half, so it was able to progress more quickly, limiting the risk of running into winter. The new pavers are being set into place, and hay has been thrown down to keep the fresh soil and seed from blowing away, and to provide a warmer, moister environment for it to germinate in when the time comes. Those big holes behind the new seating area are for new trees that have yet to be planted – best practices state that trees are most likely to survive if planted in early spring.

Meanwhile, on the western half of the property, most of the new utilities (electrical, steam, sewer and water) have been laid, and new lamppost mounts are in place. According to a worker on-site, that metal structure in the third-to-last photo is a protective barrier to keep soil from falling back in onto workers as they assemble and lay the new utility lines. The precast concrete blocks in the second-to-last photo are protective covers for the new steam pipes. The pipes are laid, the protective barriers are put into place over them, and the channel is backfilled with soil to bring it to ground level. Cosmetic surface work on the western half of the Ag Quad will have to wait until next spring, when the threat of winter storms has passed.

The $9.6 million project began during the summer, and is scheduled for a completion before the 2017-18 academic year. MKW & Associates LLC of New Jersey is the lead landscape architect, Over & Under Piping Contractors Inc. of Auburn is the GC, and Albany-based CHA Consulting Inc. is providing civil engineering expertise. Background information on the project can be found here.

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