Gross Hall is undergoing renovations that will expand its capabilities and allow other departments, including political science, to move in.

The project will cost a little over $24 million, said Paul Manning, director of the Office of Project Management. Construction will conclude by summer 2013, and the building is expected to be ready for the start of the school year next Fall. Renovations are taking place both within the building and on its exterior and surroundings, though classes continue to be held inside.

“Gross Hall was chosen [for this project] because it was an asset sitting unused,” Manning said. “Programs needed space for expansion, and here’s all this existing square footage.”

Among the various additions are a new atrium and a large skylight to illuminate the upper floors. The south façade will also be redone, as the solid precast panels will be removed and replaced with a curtain wall of aluminum and glass, Manning said.

“We’re fitting out the second floor and the third floor, which are empty and decanted now,” he added. “[The] second floor and third floor are going to be [designated for] political science and the Pratt School of Engineering [and will include] faculty offices, teaching and research areas.”

In addition to the indoor improvements, there are also plans to add a bridge from the pedestrian walkway on Science Drive to the central entrance of the building.

Built in 1968, the 146,400 sq.-ft. building had previously been scheduled for demolition to make way for a new home for the Nicholas School of the Environment, Manning said. A change in plans, however, led to the reoccupation and renovation of the building.

The top two floors of the building were largely vacated after the opening of the nearby French Family Science Center in 2006, said Executive Vice President Tallman Trask in an email Tuesday. French now houses the chemistry department, which formerly resided in Gross Hall.

The political science department will move to the second floor of Gross Hall next summer as its current location in Perkins Library undergoes renovations, said department chair Karen Remmer in an email Tuesday. She added that the floor will be shared with the Social Science Research Institute.