Big plan on campus

By Dee Ann Rexroat '82

Master Plan Top 5

Phase I of the college’s master plan outlines $34 million in renovation and construction over the next five to eight years. The timing of each project is dependent on funding.

New residence hall
Construction began in September for a hall with 96 beds in 24 suites, with a mix of single and double rooms and a staff apartment. It is located next to Pauley-Rorem halls and will be the terminus of the pedestrian mall, which eventually will extend from The Commons. ($6 million)

The Commons renovation and expansion; library reconfiguration
RDG architects is now designing extensive renovations to The Commons, including additions to the front and back, resulting in more multipurpose space, classrooms/meeting rooms, offices, a new bookstore in front of the building, and enhanced appearance and flow. As part of this project Cole Library will add one to two classrooms and possibly a coffee lounge. ($11.5 million)

West Science renovation and expansion
Holabird & Root architects have begun working with faculty and staff in preliminary designs, and construction will begin when funding is in place. New construction would be primarily wet labs, with the existing building renovated for offices, classrooms, and other instructional space. ($11 million)

King Chapel
The building will be 125 years old in June and corrective maintenance is needed. ($2 million)

Pfeiffer Hall renovation
The exterior was renovated in summer 2006; interior renovations will begin shortly. ($3.6 million)

Cornell College is growing to record enrollments, launching new academic centers, and last year opened its first new residence hall in over 30 years. As momentum built, it became clear a plan was needed to intentionally link the physical assets of the college to its strategic plan.

And so, for the first time, the college community came together to create a campus master plan for the future development of the institution.

Working with Performa, a planning firm experienced with small private colleges, Cornell developed a comprehensive campus master plan, including cost estimates and strategies for financing them. Performa’s team visited campus throughout 2005–06 to meet with students, faculty, staff, trustees, and administrators. The resulting plan builds on the history, values, and strengths of Cornell College. The Board of Trustees voted in May to approve Phase I with the knowledge that the master plan is a living document that will change over time.

Phase I outlines $34 million in renovation and construction over the next five to eight years. The timing of each project is dependent on funding. The five components are a new residence hall, renovation and expansion of The Commons, renovation and expansion of West Science Center, corrective maintenance for King Chapel, and an interior renovation of Pfeiffer Hall.

A campus listed entirely on the National Register of Historic Places, with every one of its 19th-century buildings still intact, provides a unique challenge to campus planners. Initial recommendations included expansion of the campus along First Street across from the lawn. The college is evaluating its historic property there and will develop a plan. An architect sensitive to historic preservation is assessing the Victorian buildings, now used for various purposes. The college intends to preserve, renovate, and reuse them to the extent possible. In some cases, it may be impractical to renovate. Rood House will no longer be a residence hall after this year, and is under consideration for repurposing as an administrative building.

In the short term, the college is selling homes it had used for faculty/staff housing along Second and Third Avenue SW, not adjacent to the college, and is using the proceeds to purchase highly desirable properties bordering the college as they become available. The first purchase was an apartment building on the corner of First and Fifth avenues, at the entrance to campus, which will be used for housing faculty and staff.

The college is continuing discussion on Phases II and III, looking forward 15 or more years, and on ways to advance its distinctive mission and vision.