Progress > May 2007

Bottoming out and breaking ground...

The Kroon building site continues to take shape. Over the course of May, heavy machinery steadily removed overburden. The rock closest to the surface has been soft enough to break up and remove without explosives, minimizing the potential disruption of research in Osborn Memorial Laboratories (and end of semester studying in the Sage Hall library and computer labs). Looking into the hole where the Pierson-Sage chiller plant once stood, one can see the rectangular contours of the basement level and the service node emerging. The excavation has reached the stage of fine details – leveling the space and digging channels for utility lines that will run under the basement.

Video highlights from the May 3, 2007 Kroon Hall Groundbreaking Ceremony.

On the afternoon of May 3rd, the ram hoes and excavators rumbled to a halt and stood silent for a few hours, while the celebratory sounds of a brass band rang out across the building site. A crowd of over two hundred students, faculty, staff, administrators, and donors gathered that sunny afternoon to celebrate the official Groundbreaking Ceremony for Kroon Hall. "I want to welcome you to this wonderful and long awaited moment," began Yale F&ES Dean Gus Speth. "It does my heart good to see this great hole in the earth, and to imagine the wonderful Kroon Hall rising above it. And it does my heart especially good to say goodbye forever to the Pierson-Sage power plant."

Yale University President Rick Levin added, "This is a wonderful day for the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and for Yale University. It is fantastic in so many ways because it will speak symbolically and actually to the aspirations of this great School and this great University. We are not only going to talk the talk; we are going to walk the walk."

Ed Bass, Co-Chair of the Yale F&ES Leadership Council, proposed that the ceremony be renamed a "Bottoming Out Ceremony," given the work preparing the site that had already been completed. He also emphasized the significance of Kroon Hall as a model of sustainable architecture, especially within the context of the Yale campus. "Kroon Hall will not only contribute enormously to the environment of Science Hill and to the Yale campus, it will also effectively create a School of Forestry and Environmental Studies campus."

Richard Kroon, Yale Class of 1964, spoke about the environmental sensibilities that he and his wife picked up from their children. "They gave us an awareness of the pressing need to change the pattern of human endeavor and human priorities in order to save this wonderful world of ours for future generations." Kroon also reflected on the mix of joy and sadness that the day meant for his family, as their thoughts turned to his son Andrew, a respected environmental leader while a Yale undergraduate who passed away in 2005.

"We’re extremely proud of this building," shared Kroon. "And we’re confident that it’s future graduates will carry out Andrew’s vision and accomplish all that he dreamed of and more."