After months of pre-construction planning, scheduling, and logistics management, the last of the steel trusses were put in place recently at Milstein Hall at Cornell University’s Ithaca campus. The project is being led by the construction management firm Welliver McGuire of Montour Falls, New York. The Paul Milstein Hall will be the new home to the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and features a unique design, unparalleled by any other on campus. The building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, who previously studied at Cornell University, founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) located in Manhattan and Rotterdam, Netherlands. The 47,000 square-foot building will have a glass and concrete façade over two stories with a sub-basement. The interior is an open-air design to allow for ever-changing studio and critique space. A concrete dome in the center provides elevated auditorium seating and a staircase to the second floor while the underside of the dome creates a unique ceiling in the gallery space.

Welliver McGuire and Cornell University project managers controlled the schedule and logistics of transportation and installation of the 17 trusses that weighed between 47,000 and 130,000 pounds each. The hybrid trusses are being installed to support two cantilevers, one on the south end of the building and one over University Avenue. Only a few companies in the world could produce these specialized trusses, and the chosen firm was Canatal Industries from Quebec City, Canada. Each truss was delivered individually by truck, escorted to the U.S./Canada border by the Canadian police and then picked up by New York State Police and taken to campus. Timing had to be just right for the trusses to be installed before the next one was delivered due to the small amount of lay-down area on-site. To install these massive truss pieces, a special hydraulic crane was brought in from Syracuse, NY. Clark Crane and Rigging is the owner of the 600-ton crane, the largest in New York State, which was able to lift and hold the pieces in place until crews set them. “Welliver McGuire and its subcontractors completed one of the largest and most complex steel installations on our Campus,” stated Project Director for Cornell University, Gary Wilhelm.

Milstein Hall is an intended U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold project. Environmental aspects include a vegetative roof, skylights, an indoor garden, chilled beams for cooling the building, and radiant-heat flooring.

One of many Welliver McGuire-led projects on the Cornell campus, Milstein Hall is on track to be completed before the fall semester 2011. Other projects Welliver McGuire is working on at Cornell include the Plantations Welcome Center, Cornell Rowing Center, Phase 2A of Martha Van Rensselaer 1933 Hall renovations, and renovations to Bruckner Hall. The company provides construction management, design/build and general construction services to the higher education, K-12, healthcare and science and technology markets throughout Upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania. Live video feeds of select Welliver McGuire job sites can be found on our website at