Renovation begins on historic Dwight Hall

The Old Campus home of Dwight Hall at Yale,will undergo a $4 million renovation.
Dwight Hall on Old Campus.

The Old Campus home of Dwight Hall at Yale will undergo a $4 million renovation. The center supports the public service and social justice activities of students. During the renovation, the center will occupy a space at 143 Elm St.

The Old Campus home of Dwight Hall at Yale, Center for Public Service and Social Justice, will undergo a $4 million renovation to support the activities of Yale students in those areas.

Founded in 1886, Dwight Hall at Yale has operated out of 67 High Street since 1930, when it shifted its operations to the building that formerly housed Yale College’s original library. This renovation project is the culmination of efforts by donors and university administrators that began in 2003. The renovation will take place from September 2017 through May 2018.

Dwight Hall is a vital part of the Yale student experience and integral to Yale’s mission of producing global leaders,” said President Peter Salovey. “The renovation of the Old Campus building reflects our commitment to public service.”

Dwight Hall and Chapel was constructed between 1842 and 1846 and is the second oldest building on the campus after Connecticut Hall (1750). Henry Austin designed the building as the original Yale Library in the Gothic Revival tradition, marking a significant departure from the Old Brick Row of the 18th century, and thereby setting the principal direction of campus architecture to this day. Austin’s work includes the façade of City Hall and the gates of the Grove Street Cemetery.

Dwight Hall is the primary experiential outlet for Yale students who engage in service and activism, grow as leaders of social change, and develop collaborative and innovative solutions to society’s most pressing challenges. With origins as a campus-based Young Men’s Christian Association stretching back to 1881, Dwight Hall can simultaneously claim to be the oldest university center for community service and boast a participation rate of nearly two-thirds of the undergraduate population.

“Students have been at the cutting edge of service and activism, transforming — and being transformed by — the world around them since this organization was founded 131 years ago,” observes Peter Crumlish, executive director of Dwight Hall at Yale. “The transformation of the building ensures that the organization will continue to be a space where students and community members can share knowledge and collaboratively craft solutions that address society’s most pressing challenges.”

John Meeske, chair of the Dwight Hall board of directors adds, “students will immensely benefit from upgrades that promote collaborative working environments and offer modern amenities.”

The renovation on Old Campus will begin in the fall of 2017 and includes re-designed student meeting rooms, collaboration spaces and co-working technology; an elevator in the north wing, accessibility upgrades, air conditioning, and improved mechanical infrastructure; and the refinishing of Dwight Hall’s historic interiors and extensive millwork.

According to Kristen Gomez, public relations coordinator for the student Executive Committee of Dwight Hall, “students need Dwight Hall during turbulent times like these.  Dwight Hall has been there over many generations for students — and for the greater good — organizing Freedom Rides in the 1960’s, addressing global crises in the 1970’s, mobilizing students against apartheid in the 1980’s, and urging corporations to act more responsibly in the 1990’s. More recently Dwight Hall has challenged students to pro-actively create a just world. While the renovation will cause some temporary disruption, we are excited to consider how Dwight Hall can support stronger partnerships between students and community.”

During the renovations Dwight Hall will occupy 143 Elm Street, a building that is adjacent to the New Haven Green. Plans for programming in this space can be viewed here.

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