Yale University Preparing Site For New Business School Building
(4/20/2010) By ERIC GERSHON, The Hartford Courant
April 20, 2010
NEW HAVEN —
Yale University has begun demolishing two former insurance company buildings to make way for a new, $189 million business school campus that will consolidate scattered operations and — university leaders hope — burnish the school of management's reputation.
Yale has largely torn down a brick colonial-revival style building at 175 Whitney Ave. that once belonged to the former Security Insurance Co. The school also plans to remove a separate, newer Security Insurance building next door. Demolition is expected to be finished by late summer.
Yale has owned the buildings, across Whitney from the Peabody Museum, since 1965 and used them for administrative offices. The school of management, founded in 1976, operates out of a dozen buildings, including several former mansions. All departments will move into the new, 237,000-square-foot building, which will include classrooms, a library, a 350-seat auditorium and other amenities, according to city hall documents.
Designed by celebrated British architect Sir Norman Foster, the U-shaped glass-and-steel structure is tentatively scheduled for occupancy by fall 2013.
Yale says a gleaming new edifice will help attract top-caliber students and generally elevate its business school's reputation. In popular rankings, the management school lags behind business schools at Yale's traditional rivals, such as Harvard, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.
The new building will also allow Yale to increase enrollment to as many as 600 from the 429 now in the MBA program.
"The new building will have amenities that make us competitive with top management programs in the world," said Stanley Garstka, the management school's deputy dean.
Both of the main buildings on the Whitney Avenue site were listed in New Haven's Historic Resources Inventory, and local preservationists lament the loss of the older brick building, which has a two-story interior rotunda ringed by columns, preservationists said.
"Buildings that weren't built for Yale, on the whole, get less attention, or seem to be of less value to Yale, than buildings built for Yale," said Christopher Wigren, deputy director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. "The idea of converting buildings doesn't seem to have sunk in very deeply."
The university's reliance on a world-class architect offers him little solace, he said.
"Great architects don't always produce great buildings," he said. "Or buildings that are assets to the neighborhoods that they're in."
Yale spokeswoman Tabitha Wilde said the project cost has risen to nearly $190 million from the $150 million cited in plans filed with the city, and isn't final. The school is still raising money, she said.
One school of management alumnus in China has pledged $8,888,888 toward the project, according to the Yale Daily News, the student newspaper. The Chinese consider eight a lucky number.
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