Moving forward simultaneously on scattered fronts, the University has pushed through one of the most extensive renovation and alteration projects over attempted over the summer. The program included reconstruction of Harvard Hall to provide a new stairway and exit from all classrooms, as well as extensive changes in Sever Hall, it was learned yesterday from Aldrich Durant '02, Business Manager of the University.
The addition of a new stairway and exit on the north side of Harvard, which will open into the quadrangle formed by Harvard, Lionel. Holden Chapel, and Hollis Hall, has long been regarded as the most pressing alteration on the University calendar. CRIMSON editorials, faculty committees, and other groups joined in urging that something be done to relieve the congestion, and lessening the time taken to clear the building.
The alternations to the building, which include the installation of automatic sprinklers in all class rooms and in the attic, as well as new stone steps at the old, or south entrance to the class room, now make Harvard Hall comply with all regulations of the Massachusetts Public Safety Board. The building, one of the oldest in the Yard, will be ready for use next Wednesday, the first day of classes.
However, it was pointed out, unless students follow the traffic regulations governing the use of the two doorways, congestion is likely to be as bad as ever. The "one-way traffic" plan set up by the University, contemplates a constant flow from south to north. Incoming students to classes in the building are asked to use the old, or south door, on what has come to be regarded as the front of the hall, while students leaving classes are requested to leave via the new exit on the north side.
Even more extensive additions were made to Sever Hall, across the Yard. To comply with public safety regulations, the stairway on the south, or Widener end of the building was made continuous from the first to the third floors, and an emergency exit was provided at the south end. At the north, or Memorial Church end, a new stairway for emergency use only was built, and a new, emergency exit was cut into the northeast corner of the building to serve the assembly room, Sever 11. Further an additional stairway from the third floor corridor to the fourth was constructed making available a large room on the top floor which has been out of service for several years.
All the new stairs, and the old main stairway have been enclosed with steel and glass partitions which will act as smokescreens and will improve temperature conditions. Rooms 1 and 2 have already been redecorated and it is hoped that it will be possible to re-decorate all the class rooms in the building.
Historically minded students may find the famous initial and decorative carving on the writing benches by lying on the floor and looking up, as care was taken to destroy nothing of historical interest when repairing the building. Sever, also, will be ready when classes begin on Wednesday.
Austin Hall in the Law School was also provided with additional exits for ll assembly rooms, making it conform to regulations, while Gannett House, also of the Law School, was turned around to make room for the new Littauer School buildings and the new squash court.
Also the Weld trustees made a special appropriation of over $6000 for the complete reconstruction of the landing dock at the Weld Boat Club, and the work is practically finished there. Finally a duplicate cable has been laid to provide electrical service to the area north of Kirkland Street, as an additional safety factor. So it has been a busy summer for the University, and students will find upon their return to Cambridge that most of the jobs that have been hanging fire for many years have now been cleaned up.