Construction Story: Building the New Colleges

Yale’s newest additions to the residential college system, Pauli Murray College and Benjamin Franklin College, opened in August 2017. The collegiate gothic structures were designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and built by Dimeo Construction Company on a 6.7 acre parcel of land just south of Ingalls Rink. The chronological updates below recount the construction process.

Since October 2014, construction crews have been busy laying the foundations for Yale’s new residential colleges. Winter weather posed no obstacle, and workers stayed on schedule as they excavated the site, erected foundation walls, and poured the first slab floors for the basements.
After months of deep snow and cold temperatures, crews laying the foundations for Yale’s new colleges welcomed the warm April weather. Work has continued through winter and early spring on site excavation and the pouring of concrete for footings, foundation walls, and basement floors.
Construction progresses at a rapid pace as longer days and warmer weather make for more amenable working conditions. Viewed from our rooftop cameras, the construction site is alive with activity, with work crews operating a constantly-moving flow of tower cranes, mobile cranes, concrete injectors, earth movers, trucks, and equipment.
In this month’s video update, John Bollier, associate vice president for facilities, reports that the concrete superstructure of the new residential colleges is nearing completion. This milestone opens the door for other trades—masons, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC contractors—to begin their work. By early next year, 450 workers will be reporting to the site on a daily basis.
With much of the concrete superstructure in place, crews are enclosing the new colleges for the winter, with temporary windows and the first layers of roofing. These efforts set the stage for workers to move indoors, where they will focus on mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.
Beneath a protective scaffolding, multiple crews are working on the new residential colleges. Indoors, workers are installing electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems and building walls to partition off individual rooms. Outdoors, weatherproofing and and exterior finishes are under way, and the three new towers are rising into the New Haven skyline.
With much of the major structural work in place, three construction cranes have been dismantled, and the fourth remains to finish Pauli Murray College’s west tower. Crews have begun removing protective scaffolding from portions of the new colleges, allowing previews of the finished exteriors. For many buildings along Prospect Street, windows are in place, as are slate roofs and the first examples of the colleges’ hand-carved stone ornaments.
At Murray and Franklin Colleges, summer 2016 was a season for masons, with multiple crews installing brick and stonework across the site. Work combined traditional bricklaying techniques with the installation of prefabricated brick and stone panels, allowing Dimeo Construction Company to deliver old-world gothic details within budget.
In this time-lapse video spanning March 2016 to October 2016, workers complete the steel and concrete structures of both Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray colleges, while raising the three towers. As spring gives way to summer, crews enclose the buildings with insulation, an air-vapor barrier, and brickwork. Windows are installed, and roofers prepare the slate roofs. This painstaking work promises two beautiful new additions to the Yale campus.
Crews worked through the fall and winter to finish the exteriors of Murray and Franklin Colleges and have removed most of the protective scaffolding throughout the site. The colleges now use their own permanent heating and electrical systems, accelerating work indoors, where notable features like the dining halls and libraries are taking shape.
In this month’s update, a time-lapse video shows the work on Murray and Franklin colleges spanning October 2016 to March 2017. Two cameras mounted on the roofs of the Malone Center and the Yale Health Center provide alternating views of the site. Through the fall and winter, crews have been busy with the last window installations, brickwork, and stone trim, and work has begun on landscaping. Indoors, the major electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems are functional, and crews are rapidly installing interior finishes in preparation for the August opening.
Construction of Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin colleges is nearly complete. Outdoors, crews are installing sidewalks and landscaping. Indoors, workers are completing the floors, tilework, and trim, and placing furniture in preparation for the students’ arrival in August.
Crews worked throughout the summer to prepare Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin colleges for their long-awaited opening. On August 25th, first-year students moved into the colleges. Mother Nature provided ample sunshine and an even temperature for move-in day, as happy students and families took their first steps as members of the Yale community.