Hoover to build new facility at site of Cummings Art Building

Sept. 18, 2012, 2:04 a.m.

The Hoover Institute, a University-affiliated conservative think tank, has begun a $60 million fundraising campaign for a new facility to be built on the site of the current Cummings Art Building. The planned facility will be the Institute’s first expansion project in 35 years.

“It’s really just a growth question,” said David Davenport, a research fellow at the Institute who also serves as one of the project’s leaders. “Hoover, as a part of Stanford, has continued to grow, like most departments. And with no new space in 35 years … we’re bursting at the seams and have been for a while.”

The building will “provide 50,000 square feet of much-needed conference and office space, which will accommodate additional scholars, staff, and events,” according to the University’s 2012-13 budget plan.

The Hoover Institute, which includes staff offices as well as the Hoover War Archives, is currently located across the Herbert Hoover Memorial Building, the Lou Henry Hoover Building and Hoover Tower. It has not added more space since 1977.

Davenport said that Hoover began talking to the University about growth space about 10 years ago and hoped to be granted a site close to its existing location. Since Stanford plans to have completed the new McMurtry Building for the arts by 2015, it decided to allow the Hoover Institute to demolish the Cummings Art Building and build on its site, which is directly adjacent to Hoover Tower.

According to Davenport, Hoover previously considered space in Encina Hall and the site of the new Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), but discovered that the University had other plans for these spaces.

The University has previously announced that the Art and Architecture Library, currently housed in Cummings, will be moved to a central position in the new McMurtry Building. With a site neighboring the Cantor Arts Center and Bing Concert Hall, the McMurtry Building, which recently gained approval from the Board of Trustees, will be the new home of the Department of Art and Art History.

In the University budget, the Hoover Institute estimated a cost of $45.6 million for its new facility. Davenport said, however, that the actual cost is still uncertain.

“We have two different estimates of the actual construction costs — one that is about $45 million and one that is about $55 million,” Davenport said. “You don’t really know until you have your architectural plans and you actually go out to bid. Our fundraising goal is $60 million, but we hope the actual cost will be closer to that $45-$50 million.”

The Institute began fundraising this year and had raised $3.2 million by mid-June. Additionally, Davenport reported that three major donors — who have, to date, chosen to remain anonymous — pledged about $30 million in total for the project.

“The Stanford approach is to try to identify a donor to give half of the cost of the project and then name the building after that person,” Davenport said. “So that’s a hope for this project.”

David Lenox, director of campus planning and design, wrote in an email to The Daily that the design process for the new building has not yet begun. However, he anticipates that the building will be architecturally similar to its neighboring buildings.

“Due to its location adjacent to the Main Quad, Green Library and the Art Gallery and Hoover Tower, it is likely that the building will blend into architectural styles surrounding the site,” said Lenox, who is also the University architect.

The three main aspects of the new facility will be conferencing space, meeting rooms where scholars can collaborate and office space, according to Davenport.

“We’re going to have in [the new facility] a significant conferencing capability,” Davenport said. “In the conferencing space, we’re going to have an auditorium that would seat around 400 people. And we hope to have a dining, multi-space room to seat that number of people, and also some breakout space.”

While the auditorium will not be regularly available to the public or for classes, Devonport said he anticipates that other campus entities will be able to rent the space for conferences.

The project has already received Form 1 approval from Provost John Etchemendy, and Hoover officials expect to go before the Board of Trustees once they have developed architectural plans. Davenport said that the Institute plans to begin construction during the spring of 2015 and hopes to finish by January 2017.

Hoover is also planning on renovating the reading room of their archives this academic year at an expense of $500,000, according to the University budget plan.

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