Construction under way on Milstein Hall project

August 5, 2009

Ground has been broken on the site of Milstein Hall, a new facility for AAP that is scheduled to open in August 2011.

Work began on the site on June 8. For the duration of construction, University Avenue is closed to traffic behind Sibley and Rand halls, the buildings to which Milstein Hall will connect. 

The current work includes excavation at the northeast corner of Sibley and southwest corner of Rand, and in the parking lot behind Sibley. Paolangeli Contractor of Ithaca is digging 16 to 18 feet down to install steel girders and concrete underpinnings, which are shoring up the area around the foundations of the two buildings and stabilizing the south side of University Avenue. 

"All of this prep work is readying to start the foundation of Milstein by the middle of September," said Mike Wilkinson, construction manager for Cornell's Department of Project Design and Construction. "All structural concrete foundations and walls will be complete by next April, then the structural steel will be erected." 

Once the shell of the structure is complete, work will begin in August 2010 on one of the major interior features of Milstein, a concrete dome that will form part of a planned amphitheater/lecture hall, Wilkinson said. 

An elevator that will be accessible to the new building will be installed in Rand Hall at the end of the spring 2010 semester. 

"Basically, students who do their work in Rand [now] have to take it outside in all kinds of weather to get it over to Sibley for reviews; [soon] they won't have to," said John McKeown, project director for Architecture, Art, and Planning. 

The project's estimated cost is $52 million, McKeown said. The total includes utilities upgrades and improvements to existing facilities, such as a new sprinkler system for the Foundry and the elevator in Rand, he said. 

Recent improvements to the Foundry also include repairs to the roof and foundation, among other historic preservation measures. 

Construction of an adjacent plaza will incorporate a turnaround for vehicles and access to an eventual parking garage on the site. The building of Milstein Hall will eliminate about two-thirds of existing parking space behind Sibley, "with the hope that the parking garage will be built in the future, with more spaces than the existing parking lot," McKeown said.

By Dan Aloi

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