Slump slows TI, Cap, Colonial renovations
Some clubs, including Colonial Club, Tiger Inn and Cap & Gown Club, are struggling to fund their clubhouse improvement plans in the face of slowing alumni donations.
“[The recession] has had an impact on the level of giving,” Colonial graduate board president Llewellyn Ross ’58 said. “We’re still working on raising money.”
Last week, Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW) reported that Colonial has raised 67 percent of the funds needed for its three-part renovation.
The club has already completed the first phase of its renovation and is currently beginning the second phase, which includes redesigning its kitchen, Ross said. The third phase is still undetermined, he added.
“We’re doing well,” he said of the planned improvements. “I feel comfortable we can achieve our goals in the long term.”
TI, which had planned to expand the size of their clubhouse by a third, has also felt the effects of the downturn as the club has raised only $3.8 million toward its goal of $6.5 million.
“We may have to reduce the size of the expansions,” TI capital campaign chair Rich Thompson ’55 said. “Since October, [fundraising has] slowed down considerably … [but] we are very confident and optimistic that we will be able to raise the amount.”
The club has planned renovations to its library, kitchen, media room and downstairs entertainment area, Thompson said, adding that the dining room will be expanded.
TI still plans to begin construction in May 2010, he explained, adding that if the fundraising goes more slowly than expected, the club may be forced to continue its capital campaign as construction proceeds. The club had hoped to conclude its five-year fundraising campaign for the expansion in 2009, he said.
“The backup plan is that if we cannot, because of the economic situation, raise [enough] money, we would reduce the size of the renovation and the expansion,” Thompson explained.
The renovation plans, he added, are especially crucial in light of the University’s expansion of the four-year residential college system.
“We need to keep Tiger Inn competitive now and into the future,” he said. “Those of us who were in Tiger Inn have only good memories, and so do the people in it now.”
Thompson explained that the clubhouse has not been expanded since its construction in 1895.
“Since now [the club] serves twice as any people as sixty years ago and since the students use the club now in more ways than we did before … It is very important that we expand the club to meet the expanded membership,” he said.
Cap capital campaign chair Tom Fleming ’69 said he was “optimistic” that the club would reach its $5 million fundraising goal for the planned renovations it announced last year.
“We have not set a deadline for the campaign,” he added, declining to reveal how much money the club had raised so far.
“We are gratified by the response of our membership as we have made substantial progress towards our goal despite the economic downturn,” he said.
Cap is hoping to renovate its dining room as well as other parts of the clubhouse to accommodate more people, Fleming added.
Not all clubs are feeling the effects of the recession so severely.
Ivy Club, which began renovations in December 2007, is scheduled to finish them by Reunions, PAW reported. The club is adding a new wing designed by architect Demetri Porphyrios GS ’80, who also designed Whitman College.
Ivy graduate board president James Griffin ’55 told PAW that the club’s fundraising timeline was “fortuitous” because most of the money was raised before the economic downturn. Griffin did not respond to a request for comment.