Kutler Center construction could begin by summer break

By Daniel Rothberg

Construction of the Kutler Center could begin at the end of the school year, Director of Campus Operations JD DeMatté said. The targeted opening date for the Kutler Center and renovated library is Jan. 25, 2012.

After receiving approval from the Board of Trustees earlier this month and other permits from the city, construction of the project will start after the school receives the final permits, DeMatté said.

“I’m hoping we are starting construction at the end of May or early June,” DeMatté said.

The new facility, which will connect Mudd Library with the third floor of Seaver via bridge, will house the Kutler Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and Independent Research. The center is named in memory of Brendan Kutler ’10, who died in his sleep last year. Jon and Sarah Kutler’s lead gift will fund the project, which will include a renovation of the library. Lester Tobias (Bryce ’10) is the architect for the project. The facility will include three new class spaces and an office. Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said the design for the Kutler Center is contemporary and is meant to reflect the department’s philosophy, which emphasizes deep research and interdisciplinary study.

Starting next year, all humanities classes will be under the purview of the Kutler Center. The Faculty Academic Committee wil oversee the development of new courses for the Kutler Center.

“The program itself is a very interesting one. It’s innovative. It’s forward thinking. It’s a bridge program,” Huybrechts said. “So we wanted the elements of [the facility] to be interesting, innovative and creative and serve as an entrance to the school.

“Though construction will limit access to the library, Huybrechts said that students will still be able to utilize library resources.

“We have to have a fully functioning library, at least when it comes to using the resource materials,” Huybrechts said.

Huybrechts will be meeting with DeMatté and Director of Upper School Planning John Feulner this week to discuss how to mitigate the construction’s interference with access to the library and history classrooms.

“The real issue is we are building a project in the middle of the campus like when we did the Munger building,” DeMatté said. “It becomes a little bit of a logistical issue to do that but we have experience with that and should be able to get it done.”