University initiates renovations on Usen Castle
The University will be conducting surveys to determine what renovations are necessary in Usen Castle, Vice President for Operations James Gray announced in an email sent to the Brandeis community last Wednesday.
As Gray noted in his email, the Castle’s age and lack of recent renovations might pose a risk to students as engineering teams investigate its infrastructure.
“Please be aware that the study of the exterior [of the building], and the changes in weather, can pose a serious danger of falling debris, especially with a facility like the Castle,” he wrote.
Gray also noted that the Castle will be roped off with hazard tape and students will not be allowed on the roof of the building. However, he also wrote that the disruptions are expected to be minimal.
According to Gray, several companies will be responsible for conducting an internal and external engineering survey, with CBI Consulting leading the team.
The upcoming survey results will determine how much work will need to be done in the coming months.
Gray wrote in an email to the Justice that he hopes this first phase of investigation will be concluded before winter vacation.
He noted that while smaller repairs and maintenance upkeep have occurred over the years, the Castle has not been renovated in some time.
“The study we are doing now may not answer all the difficult long term questions involved, but it will help inform the discussions that will be ongoing,” Gray wrote.
The Castle, built in 1928, was the pet project of Middlesex University founder John Hall Smith. The Castle was inherited by Brandeis in 1948 when Middlesex University combined with Middlesex College.
According to a 1998 senior thesis, “Unlocking Doors to the Past and the Future: An Architectural and Social Exploration of the Irving and Edyth Usen Castle,” written by Amy Debra Finstein ’98, the Castle is a combination of English and Irish architectural influences.