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Klarman Hall site preps, awaits construction

Backhoes are becoming frequent sites around Goldwin Smith Hall as workers reroute electrical, water and heating and cooling lines to prepare for Klarman Hall construction.
sidewalk closed
Sidewalks are closed along East Avenue as workers re-route electrical, water and heating and cooling lines.
Workers install a new temporary transformer in the basement of Goldwin Smith to handle electrical flow.

Early construction work for Klarman Hall, the College of Arts and Sciences’ new humanities building, is in full swing, with pipes of all shapes and colors visible in ditches on the west and south sides of the building, temporary transformers installed and new ductwork put in place in Goldwin Smith Hall offices. The pipes will carry chilled water, steam, electricity and data lines and replace those dug up along East Avenue to make way for the building.

The current “enabling work” includes tasks necessary to get the site ready for excavation, which will start sometime in November, said Gary Wilhelm, senior project manager with Cornell’s Department of Capital Projects and Planning. Utility relocations will allow Goldwin Smith activities to continue as normal, or close to it, when construction begins.

Sidewalks also have been closed or relocated all around the building, and a bus stop has been moved – changes that will continue through construction completion projected for fall 2015.

Enabling work should be completed in early October, including filling in the south side ditch near the Arts Quad entrance, Wilhelm said. That work also includes testing everything installed, from sprinklers to electrical panels. Roof replacement work should start by the end of September, he said, which will involve erecting scaffolding all around the building, including over entranceways.

Cornell has received site plan approval for the project from the city of Ithaca as well as Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission approval. Bids for the construction of Klarman Hall will be opened Sept. 11, and the university will seek approval from the Cornell Board of Trustees at its October meeting. Construction could begin in November, Wilhelm said.

Klarman Hall will serve as a crossroads for students and faculty from all over campus. The environmentally friendly building will feature a glass-enclosed atrium, a living “green” roof and radiant flooring. The university will seek LEED Platinum certification for the building, which will become a dominant presence on East Avenue.

The building will house humanities classrooms and offices, a large café in the lower level, a new auditorium, and outside courtyards and walkways. There will be 33,250 square feet of new programmable space and about 124 modular office-sized spaces that can be used as offices or meeting, conference and seminar rooms.

Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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