Construction is expected to begin in early 2023 on a state-of-the-art academic building for the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science. The new building will accommodate the college’s rapid growth, foster student-faculty collaborations, and create an open landscaped green space with Bill and Melinda Gates Hall.
The building will provide space and sustain the Bowers CIS community, where 76% of all Cornell undergraduates take at least one course, and which has seen a six-fold increase in enrollment over the past decade and recently surpassed the milestone of 2,000 adult students. Scheduled to open in 2025, it will also for the first time bring together the college’s three departments – computer science, information science and statistics and data science – in a single complex.
“There’s a huge intellectual benefit to having the departments together as a cohesive, collaborative whole,” said Kavita Bala, Dean of Cornell Bowers CIS. “The inspiration that results from working closely together and from chance encounter is going to have a huge positive impact in seeding new kinds of ideas that cross disciplines and departmental boundaries.”
To make room for the new building, Cornell will move its NCAA Division I baseball field to the corner of Ellis Hollow and Game Farm roads, south of the McGovern football fields in the city of Ithaca.
The new synthetic turf baseball field will include stadium seating for 500 people, as well as an enclosed clubhouse and press room. The stadium complex, designed by Stantec Ewing Cole Architects, will be built into the hillside; spectators will enter at lobby level and step down to their seats or stand for an unobstructed view of the pitch.
An 80-car parking lot will be constructed adjacent to the land, connected to Ellis Hollow Road by a new private access road.
“Hoy Field has been a wonderful home for the Cornell Baseball program for 100 years,” said Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life. “Together with the coaching and athletics staff, we are confident that the new field and facilities will usher in an exciting new chapter for Cornell Baseball.”
The project is largely made possible by the 2020 Gift from Ann S. Bowers ’59 who named the college.
The new L-shaped building will be located south of Gates Hall and connected by a bridge on its eastern facade. Together, the four-story buildings will form an open, landscaped green space that will provide a place for gatherings and events, while reinforcing the identity of Bowers CIS. Rhodes Hall, which houses elements of Bowers CIS, as well as the Upson and Duffield rooms, will be visible from the building and its landscaped areas.
“The outdoor space will be wonderful,” Bala said. “Our students will have a place to hang out and be part of our community.”
The new college building is fully accessible along its entire length, with multiple entrances; the main entrance will face Hoy Road, accessed by a sloping accessible path from a new pedestrian crossing, or along a footpath from Gates Hall. Give it to me! The cafe currently in Gates Hall will be relocated to the lobby of the new Hoy Road building.
Bala envisions the two buildings becoming a single space for Bowers CIS. “Our plan is to have it really be a unified complex,” she said, “with departments crossing those two spaces and fostering continuity across the college.”
The ground floor of the new building will contain the most active elements of the building, including the café; a large common area for gathering; large classrooms; and spaces for maker and builder labs. The upper floors will house research and administrative offices, research laboratories, associated collaboration spaces and meeting spaces.
The structure will feature high-performance construction materials that meet or exceed Cornell’s sustainability goals – including carbon reduction, energy consumption reduction, water conservation and integrated landscape.
Construction on the new Cornell Baseball Home will begin later this year and is expected to be completed in time for the 2023 season. Hoy Field celebrated its 100th anniversary this year; it hosted opposing players including Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig (Columbia), former President George H.W. Bush (Yale), and former New York Mets pitcher and current broadcaster Ron Darling (Yale).
Cornell hired Boston-based architects Leers Weinzapfel, along with landscape architects Olin Studio, to design the new Bowers CIS building.