17 Oct 2013

Yale Renovates President’s House

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43 Hillhouse Avenue, built for Henry Farnum by architect Russell Sturgis in 1871. Victorian features were removed in 1934. It has been the home of Yale’s presidents since 1937.

If the US Department of Defense ever finds itself falling short on its spending goals, if it ever can’t find enough $750 toilet seats and $450 claw hammers to buy, DOD procurement specialists can just call up the geniuses running Yale University and ask them to lend a hand with some building or renovation project.

Building the truly verdant green Kroon Hall, erected as a kind of Taj Mahal shrine to environmentalism that cleans its own water with aquatic plants, cost only $501 a square foot. In the recent renovation, including fixing plaster, installing a “state of the art” security system, changing over from steam-heat to hot water, and generally tidying up, the stately mansion on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, once called “the most beautiful street in America” by Charles Dickens, provided for the use of the university’s president, Yale managed to spend $810 a square foot, a total of $17,000,000!

If we assume that Yale tuition and room and board is running something like 60 grand per annum these days, that means Yale could have given 283 and 1/3 students, more than half the population of one of Yale’s 12 residential colleges, a free year of college for what all this cost. The mind boggles.

Yale Alumni Mag blog


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