ITHACA, N.Y. — Spring has sprung, and with it comes an uptick in construction projects, on roads, houses, and of course, the ever-growing campus on East Hill. Like any good news outlet, the Voice is here to put you in the know for your next trip through Cornell campus.

[do_widget id= text-55 ]

With Klarman Hall all finished up, that leaves three major construction projects currently underway on Ezra’s former farm. Upson Hall, in the midst of an extreme makeover; expansion plans at the Veterinary School, and the expansion and renovation of the Gannett Health Center at the intersection of Campus Road and College Avenue.

Upson Hall

First up, Upson Hall on the Engineering Quad. The $74.5 million renovation project replaces everything but the steel skeleton of the 1950s-era building. Rough openings for windows are being created on the 3rd-5th floors, where students and staff will move into renovated classroom and lab space late this summer. The first and second floors are part of the second, later phase, and won’t be completed until August 2017. The exposes steel corners are new “bump-outs” being built onto the excisting building’s frame. Inside, drywall and utilities are being installed on the upper levels, while new water pipes and concrete are built into the basement.

Oh, and that sock-in-you-your face turquoise color? That’s a spray-on moisture barrier used for waterproofing. It does tend to stand out quite a bit, for better of worse.

The Veterinary School Expansion

As we’ve written before, calling the $74.1 million Vet School project an expansion is a misnomer because when all is done and open, the school will actually occupy less space than it started with. But it will use space much more efficiently, enough to allow Cornell to expand each veterinary class by 18 students. The concrete is up to the third and final floor of what will be the new school library, which will eventually extend back towards the other school buildings as build-out continues. Once the frame is erected and the building’s sheathed, a new curtain wall of glass will greet visitors coming up Tower Road. Construction for the new classrooms, labs and library is expected to wrap up this June.

Gannett Health Center

Last, but certainly not least. The glass sparkles in the March sun as the new wing of Gannett Health Center faces Ithaca’s spring skies for the first time. Unlike the other projects, this one was designed by a local firm, Chiang O’Brien Architects. The different color tones in the glass might cause some friendly debate among passerby, but the project documents describe the curtain wall as “an abstracted quilt pattern” meant to conjure images of care-giving and recovery. Sunshades have been installed on the outside, and the stairwells, currently coated in dark-blue waterproofing, will eventually be covered with bluestone veneer and limestone panels. As the new wing finishes up this summer, work will shift into the old 1950s and 1970s wings, renovating them and re-building the Ho Plaza entrance. The second and last phase of the $55 million project is aiming for a completion by August 2017.

With the Gannett expansion, Ithaca also gets a nice economic side benefit – 10 to 20 new jobs, for additional physicians, nurses and mental health counselors who will be hired to fill out Cornell’s expanded health services.

[do_widget id= text-61 ]

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.