Butler construction on schedule, half done
Last week, Tigers returning to campus saw the new buildings finally taking shape, with many of the 250,000 separate pieces of brick and limestone and 800 windows already set into place.
The finished buildings will have two, three and four stories and are being constructed with a warm-color brick to match those of Wu, 1915 and Bloomberg halls. When finished, the project will occupy 113,000 square feet, with two of the buildings connected via aerial bridge.
The basement level will have classrooms, three elevators, a lounge, kitchenettes, laundry rooms, a convenience store and a computer cluster.
Plans also call for a Food Emporium, which Zahn described as a “mini-Frist,” offering a range of different food options. Wu will remain Butler’s main dining hall and will be combined with the renovated Wilcox to offer a servery similar to the one in Rocky-Mathey. The dining halls will open to an amphitheater courtyard with cafe tables, where college officials expect to hold outdoor concerts and performances.
One of the most distinctive features of the new Butler is its sustainability-focused design.
Half of the new complex will be covered by “green roofs,” designed to reduce heating and cooling loads and decrease storm-water runoff. The University intends to collect data on the difference between green and conventional roofs when construction is complete.
The building envelope, which consists of the exterior walls and roof, has a high-efficiency design, exceeding energy code requirements by 30 percent. Low-flow plumbing fixtures will be used throughout the buildings, and a subsurface storm-water cistern will collect rainwater to be used to irrigate the plants in the courtyard.
Though the building will have an air conditioning system, it will not be immediately available to students in their dorm rooms. Nevertheless, officials are installing switches on the windows in the student rooms that will turn off the air conditioning whenever the windows are opened to save energy.
With the opening of the new buildings, Butler College will complete its transition from a two-year to a four-year residential college.
All student rooms will be suites of either 607 square feet or 547 square feet, with the larger suites designated for upperclassmen. Both types of suites will include two bedrooms, a common room and a 67-square-foot bathroom. Singles of 150 square feet will also be offered, and all of them will be arranged alongside a shared, private bathroom.
“The new Butler will provide very nice rooms and terrific common areas that will add greatly to life in Butler,” Butler Master Sanjeev Kulkarni said in an e-mail.
Just as Whitman and Mathey attracted a large number of rising upperclassmen to stay in the new four-year residential colleges, many Butler sophomores are eyeing the new complex rising around them.
“I know that the fact that new Butler is opening next year is persuading sophomores in my position to consider staying in the college instead of joining eating clubs and going independent,” said Butler resident Veronica Shi ’11, who is considering applying to be a Butler RCA next year.
Shi said she’s attracted by Butler’s location, her familiarity with the college staff and students, and the interior of the new buildings. But she hasn’t made a final decision.
“RCA applications are coming out in November,” she explained. “It’s going to be in mind pretty soon, but right now I’m putting it on the backburner.”
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