Summer construction brings two major projects near completion

From the Sept. 10, 2006, Princeton Weekly Bulletin

After three summers of intense construction work, two major projects on the Princeton campus are nearing completion.

Whitman College, the University’s sixth residential college, and the Lewis Library, a combined science library, are slated to open next year. Construction began on both buildings in 2004.

Here is an update on those and several other major construction projects provided by Anne St. Mauro, director of the Office of Design and Construction.

• The nine structures that make up Whitman College have taken shape on the large site between Baker Rink and Dillon Gymnasium. The trusses were set on the last building, Community Hall, this summer, and the chimneys for all of the buildings have now been put in place.

The most concentrated work has transitioned from the exterior to the interior of the buildings. Mockup rooms — dormitory rooms fitted with furniture — will be ready this fall, enabling the project team to prepare for the furnishing of all rooms by the college’s fall 2007 opening.

Site work and landscaping also will be completed in the next year for the 255,000-square-foot facility. The project was designed by Princeton graduate alumnus Demetri Porphyrios and the firm of Einhorn, Yaffee, Prescott.

• The site for the Lewis Library on the corner of Washington Road and Ivy Lane is characterized these days by large vertical concrete structures, steel girders and scaffolding. Crews have started glazing a “curtain wall,” or façade, on the east side of the building. The 87,000-square-foot structure, designed by Frank Gehry, will house the biology, chemistry, geosciences, mathematics, physics and statistics collections, the map collection and the digital map and geospatial information center.

Hamilton Hall, on the north edge of campus, was upgraded this summer as part of the dorm renovation program that began in 1999. The work included the installation of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems as well as state-mandated automatic sprinkler systems. In addition, circulation in the building and accessibility were improved, and dorm rooms were renewed. The hall’s exterior was cleaned, the roofs repaired and the windows replaced.

• In a related project, part of Madison Hall currently is under construction. While the dining hall and servery remain open, the college offices and social spaces are being renovated. Work is expected to be finished in August 2007. This will complete the renovation of that dormitory complex, which began with the upgrading of Holder Hall in 2004.

• Also in the dorms this summer, rooms in Bloomberg, 1927/Clapp, 1937, 1938 and 1939 halls were renovated to become graduate student suites. Graduate students will move in following the implementation next fall of the four-year residential colleges plan. One goal of the plan is to increase interaction between undergraduate and graduate students. Each college will house approximately 10 graduate students.

The next dorm projects set to get under way are the razing and reconstruction of Butler College and the renovation of the Rockefeller-Mathey and Forbes dining halls, all scheduled to begin in summer 2007.

• Moving more to the center of campus, the Architecture Building is undergoing work that is expected to continue until the end of the fall semester. Several program areas are being renovated and reconfigured; for example, the media lab, visual resources collections and computer lab will be grouped on the lower level to share technologies. Also on that level, a new fabrication shop will house laser-cutters and other equipment moved from the Architecture Laboratory near Jadwin Gymnasium.

More visible from the outside is the renovation of the link between the two wings of the building. The three-story connector will be larger than its predecessor and faced in glass on both sides. The structure, which also opens onto 1879 Green, includes a two-story lobby, elevator and stairs. The top floor features a student lounge.

• With the construction of a new chemistry building scheduled to begin in a year (see related story on this page), crews had an opportunity this summer to experiment with some of the equipment being considered for use. A facility in Frick Laboratory was renovated for the arrival on campus this fall of David MacMillan, the A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Organic Chemistry, from the California Institute of Technology. Several new energy-efficient fume hoods, which provide the same safety precautions but use less air, were installed in the refurbished lab, which could be used as a prototype for the new building.

• In Dickinson Hall, the lower level received new sprinklers and fire alarms, refreshed finishes and new lighting this summer.

• The 1988 section of Firestone Library also was outfitted with new sprinklers and fire alarms this summer. The books in that section, which includes the portion of B and C floors that runs along Nassau Street, remained in place during the project, protected by specially designed waterproof covers.

• Work on the Firestone Library Plaza that began in summer 2004 has been completed this summer. During the past two summers, crews replaced a roof and installed waterproofing on the underground addition to the library that runs below the plaza, and then began re-landscaping the plaza. The temporary asphalt that was installed last year was removed and replaced this summer with bluestone pavers that extend from the library to the front of the chapel. New benches also were put in place.

Alexander Hall, home of Richardson Auditorium, has been retrofitted with a small pavilion on its west side this summer. The addition provides new handicap accessible restrooms. This fall, the parking area on the north side of the building will be reconfigured to improve pedestrian safety.

• Work also was completed this summer at DeNunzio Pool, where changing rooms for recreational swimmers were added so that they don’t have to use the team locker rooms. In addition, a gallery for photographs and trophies was created near the entrance, and a woven textile canopy was installed in the upper concourse and lobby.

• Work began this summer on renovation of the basement social spaces at the Old Graduate College, including the recreation room, TV lounge, laundry, social hall and DeBasement Bar. These spaces will receive new accessible layouts, lighting, and ceiling and floor finishes. The project is expected to be completed by Nov. 1.

Looking ahead

While some projects are nearing completion, others will be added to the list starting this fall. They include:

• The renovation of Stanhope Hall.

• The new building for the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering, which will be located west of Mudd Library.

• The relocation of several occupants of the Armory in preparation for its demolition. St. Mauro noted that the climbing wall will be moving to Princeton Stadium.

• A new soccer stadium to be located south of the current venue, Lourie-Love and Gulick Field. In addition to leveling and replacing the sod on the two fields currently there, crews will construct three buildings that will include seating for 3,000, restrooms, a ticket office, a concession stand and training and team rooms. The stadium, which will be lit for night play, is expected to be ready for use in fall 2008.