Princeton University’s FitzRandolph Observatory slated to be demolished

The FitzRandolph Observatory on the Princeton University campus will be demolished to make way for a new soccer stadium.

Commissioned in 1932, the FitzRandolph Observatory, which is no longer in use, first opened in 1934. The stone structure was built to replace the Halsted Observatory.

Princeton Municipal Planner Michael LaPlace had asked university officials early this year to consider saving the building. He wondered if it could be preserved for adaptive reuse and moved elsewhere.

The university conducted a feasibility study and determined that the building is not worth preserving.

“It’s difficult to move based on the condition of the structure,” LaPlace told the Princeton Planning Board Thursday night. “Needless to say, I was disappointed with the conclusion. The university is now awaiting approval for demolition.” 

Christopher DeGrezia, a lawyer representing the university, told the planning board the university will document the structure and salvage stones from the building for use elsewhere.

“We will disassemble the building and preserve the stone in our yards in West Windsor, where we have a lot of building material that is stored,” Princeton University Architect Ron Mccoy said. “We are actively looking for a use on campus that would be meaningful. We don’t have a strategy for that yet.”

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