As the Congress Avenue Building nears completion, a flurry of smaller projects alters the campus scene.
Before suburbs lured people from cities and Route 34 drove a wedge through downtown New Haven, the neighborhood surrounding the medical school bustled with businesses, shops and restaurants. In recent years, however, campus buildings have offered a stern face to the outside world, uninviting to those not practicing or studying medicine or seeking medical attention.

Now, as a number of construction projects near completion, the medical school campus is undergoing a major facelift. At the corner of Cedar Street and Congress Avenue, buildings which for years were open only to those bearing a Yale or hospital ID now include two stores catering to the public—the Yale Medical Bookstore and Cappuccino’s & More, a gourmet coffee shop.

“With the opening of the Congress Avenue Building [CAB], the school’s center of gravity will start to shift down Cedar Street,” said Irwin M. Birnbaum, J.D., the medical school’s chief operating officer. The corner of Cedar and Congress, he added, “is a place that is convenient to all. By adding a bookstore and coffee shop we are recognizing the importance of having facilities near the cab that will be more convenient for our staff there.”

Cappuccino’s & More, which opened in January, has seating for 32 with counter and takeout service. The Yale Medical Bookstore, affiliated with the Barnes & Noble bookstore on Broadway in New Haven, opened in October to replace the Yale Co-op’s medical branch on York Street, which closed last year. The bookstore caters largely to medical students and professionals, but manager Don Levy said many patients come straight from doctor’s visits to look for books describing their ailments. Also available are stethoscopes, tuning forks, scrubs and study guides.

Among the major projects under way:

At the site of the 457,000-square-foot Congress Avenue Building, scheduled to open in March 2003, workers have enclosed the building and begun to install plumbing, electrical wiring, HVAC, partitions, shelves, benches and other laboratory casework.

At the end of the B wing in the Sterling Hall of Medicine (SHM), construction began in March 2001 on the Center for Drug Discovery, a three-story addition that will provide 25,000 gross square feet of wet-bench laboratory, laboratory support and office space. Renovations to the B wing will provide an additional 24,000 square feet of upgraded office, laboratory and support space for the Department of Pharmacology.

A full renovation of the second floor of the C wing, home to cell biology in SHM, began in October and is scheduled for completion in August. About 15,000 square feet will be reorganized into four laboratory modules, along with faculty offices and laboratory support spaces.

Construction is under way at the corner of Amistad and Cedar streets on a 110,000-square-foot building and garage, with six floors devoted to disease-based clinical services and 950 parking spaces.