New Statler Entryway to Lower Energy Costs for Hotel School

Renovation of the front entrance to Statler Hall was completed on time and on budget last month...

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By Gabriella Lee, via the Cornell Sun 11/04/14

The new Statler Hall entryway aims to maintain heat in the building’s atrium and reduce energy costs. (Ryan Landvater / Sun Senior Photographer)
The new Statler Hall entryway aims to maintain heat in the building’s atrium and reduce energy costs. (Ryan Landvater / Sun Senior Photographer)

As part of a master plan for improving facilities in the School of Hotel Administration, a $3.7 million renovation of the front entrance to Statler Hall was completed on time and on budget last month, according to Andrew Magre ’91, director of capital projects management.

KSS Architects began planning the project over a year ago, and construction began over the summer, according to Magre. The renovation was intended to solve issues of cold air infiltration, add 1,600 square feet of new space on the second floor and update the exterior appearance of the building.

“The way the front entry doors were previously configured, cold air had a straight shot right into the atrium space,” Magre said. “It was difficult to maintain heat in the atrium space for functions, especially in our cold Ithaca winters.”

Magre said the doors were reconfigured to prevent the wind from directly entering the building and a larger air lock was added to “create a warm air buffer to temper the cold air.”

As the 700-seat auditorium in the building exits through the main entrance, the frequent traffic often made it difficult to control the climate in the atrium, Magre said. He added that he hoped the new entrance would maintain comfort in the atrium and help save energy for the college.

“By solving these air infiltration issues the project should help reduce the building’s energy consumption,” Magre said.

The renovation project included an extension of the second floor level into the atrium to create “new flexible program space,” according to Magre.

Magre also said the project updated the western facade of Statler Hall so that it matched the architectural language of previous renovations to the building that had also been designed by KSS Architects.

“With the completion of this front entrance, Statler Hall now reads architecturally as a cohesive whole,” Magre said.

Further work in the entry renovation project involved changing the landscape architecture outside the entrance to Statler Hall.

According to Magre, the landscape design aimed to respond to a heavy flow of pedestrian traffic by creating “a small tree-lined plaza with plantings and stone benches” on the south side of the entrance and a “terrace stone wall with landscape seating and an area to store bicycles” on the north side of the entrance.

Magre expects the entry renovation project will prove to be helpful to students, especially as the weather gets colder.

“From what we’ve seen the front entry is operating really well and the comfort in the atrium has improved, but we’ll really know the results in the dead of winter and in the middle of January,” he said. “We believe it should perform exceptionally.”

Buse Tunc ’18, a student in the hotel school, said that although the construction “looked bad, it wasn’t in any way inconvenient” while it was ongoing.

Wow Chiaravanont ’16, who has class three times a week in Statler Hall, said she agreed.

“I noticed the construction, but it didn’t affect me a great deal,” she said.

She added that she thought “having all the pavements and benches outside makes the space seem more spacious and welcoming.”

While the Statler Hall entry renovation project is now officially completed, it is only one initiative in a larger master plan to improve facilities in the Hotel School, according to Magre. Previous installments include the student lounge and learning center on the ground floor, which were completed in summer 2013.

Looking forward, while Magre said that there were no definitive plans in place, future projects in the Hotel School may include updating classrooms and other energy-saving initiatives.

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