Gannett Health Center Construction Update, 3/2017

27 03 2017

The new northeast wing of the Gannett Health Center has been framed, sheathed, and windows have been fitted. From the outside, work is also complete on the new concrete skin for the late 1970s northwest wing, which unlike the original building, it was finished out with concrete instead of stone. Meanwhile, the remaining portion of the original 1950s structure is still undergoing interior work and the new canopy has yet to be erected, so it’ll be a couple of months before the new curtain walls are fully installed. A new roof membrane is also on the to-do list.

Looking closely at the sheathing on the new building, you can see the clips that will be used to attach the new limestone veneer (Cornell has the time and the money for the real deal; most developers opt for less expensive but similar-looking precast concrete). Based off the roofline, it looks like fireproof fiberglass mat gypsum sheathing (in this case, GP DensGlass), followed by a silver moisture protection barrier, and then metal panels or limestone depending on the location.

October 2017 is the given completion date on the Cornell Facilities webpage, but the new building should be open by August; the new landscaping is what will extend into the fall. The Pike Company of Syracuse is the general contractor (they’re also doing Upson Hall nearby), and Downtown Ithaca’s Chiang O’Brien are the designers-of-record.

I did not get as close to the site as I would have liked, because the snow was still quite deep in some spots, and some of my usual vantage points were blocked off.





209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 2/2017

1 03 2017

Admittedly, when the entire building is sealed up in opaque plastic covers, it makes for a less-than-interesting construction update. The plywood doors are for the loading and unloading of materials via lifts, and apart from those, there isn’t much to break up the monotony of white plastic sheets. Note that the access doors are not the same as the elevator shaft, which is located about midway along the west wall next to 205 Dryden/Dryden South.

However, it does look like some exterior facade work is starting to get underway. Brown and grey metal panels are beginning to be installed on the building’s rear face – this is the side that will have the least amount of glass, as occupants won’t have much to see if developer John Novarr moves forward with his plans for townhomes on the double-lot of a house that came down to allow a construction staging area for the Breazzano Center. With the new home to the Executive MBA expected to open up this Spring, Novarr can proceed with options for that double-lot. 238 Linden is zoned CR-4, four floors with no required parking. The proposed townhouses could provide a visual transition between the 80-foot Breazzano and the 2.5 story houses that comprise most of the housing stock on this block of Linden Avenue, some of which are for pending sale.

In further detail, the rear facade windows are 1″ insulated glass with aluminum frames, and translucent insulated spandrel glass below the panes. The metal panels are insulated aluminum and are installed using a framing system – you can see the grey insulated panels with clips along the top edge of the panels. The plastic covers on the panels are to protect against scratches and scuffs prior to installation. ikon.5 sought to provide differentiation with mahogany brown panels on the south (Linden Avenue) side, with lighter salmon-peach panels planned for the north (Dryden Road). The west and east sides will be a little bit of of both. The first floor the street facing sides, and the atrium will be glass curtain walls. The dark panels are intended “to differentiate upper from lower and facilitate a relationship with the smaller scale of adjacent buildings,” per the application. Some of the later documents show a lighter shade of gray for the south side of the top floors, but to be frank, I am uncertain what is accurate.

Note that the fourth floor’s back side will have few windows because that is where the 1,990 SF video production studio will be located, and this requires a controlled-light environment. Presumably, with the green room and studio rooms, the intent is to have a comfortable and efficient interview space for live videos recorded for or streamed to students at remote campuses. The large flank of plywood panels at ground level is the service exit, with future loading dock and trash/recyclables enclosure.

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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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