space so that it satisfies our current needs while anticipat-ing future plans. Indeed, the board of trustees has recommended the university focus on refurbishing existing
buildings rather than building entirely new facilities. This
is both cost effective and eliminates unnecessary growth
in the total square footage.”
Consultants estimate the total cost of renovating the
buildings around the Pew Engineering Quad will come to
$300 million and take 10 years to complete.
“But as we embarked on our renovation plan, we
knew we needed to evaluate it with an engineer’s eye to
understand all the components, what is working, what
should be replaced, and how can we achieve our goals in
the most economical fashion possible,” Collins said.
Inside Upson, architects have incorporated environmentally-friendly elements to make the building more
energy efficient. Outside, contractors will completely
overhaul the stark, utilitarian façade which has weathered Ithaca winters for more than half a century. Larger
windows will add to a more inviting appearance while
letting in more natural light. The changes will give the
Sibley School a sleek and modern entrance with an overall
design that connects with the larger Cornell campus, a
22 | WINTER 2015
The Kimball Hall project kicked off with the gutting of the second and
third floors to create much-needed “wet lab”space with the utilities to
handle drugs, gasses, and other biological materials.
goal for every unit on the quad.
In addition to reconfiguring Upson’s offices and
classrooms, the renovation will quadruple the size of
the Experiential Learning Lab in the lower level, used
by many of Cornell Engineering’s student teams. Today
more than 1,000 students work on 25 teams and the renovated space will increase their visibility and more flexibly
adapt to changing needs. Teams will have more room to
collaborate on their award-winning racecars, satellites,
Mars rovers, and robotic subs, among others.
“Our student teams are growing by the year as
student interest continues to rise, and they remain a truly
distinctive feature of the Cornell Engineering education.”
Collins said. “I am excited to see what amazing new
designs these students will create when they are given
the proper space and support. Upson Hall will become a
catalyst for the kind of break-the-rules thinking that we
want to encourage.”