Unbuilt New Varsity Club Has Its 1st Anniversary
The new Varsity Club is further from construction today than it was a year ago this month when Provost Buck announced the plans for the $250,000 building in front of the main entrance of Lowell House. There are those who believe that the new clubhouse, which would replace the present one next to the Union, will never be built.
Officially the University is not going ahead with building plans because of a government ruling of last October against the erection of any new building for "amusement, recreation, or entertainment purposes." Administrative vice-President Edward R. Reynolds, '15 said at the time that the order might well delay the new Varsity Club. The University might have to consult its lawyers, Reynolds noted, and since that time nothing more has been said officially on the topic.
Privately University officers are said to have told some alumni that the delay, caused by the Korean crisis, was giving Harvard a chance to re-examine the whole question of whether or not to build a new Varsity Club.
Members of the University administration pointed out recently that there was strong support for the building of a new Varsity Club, but that it came from a relatively small number of alumni.
Extensive Other Construction
Commenting on the reason for the delay, they said that the University was still moving ahead with its plans for a $2,000,000 Kresge student recreation center at the Business School.
Kresge Hall will contain the school's dining hall, but these men said that the present temporary dining hall could continue to be used if the government felt the emergency were so great that universities should sharply cut all their construction. Harvard is also planning three other classroom and laboratory buildings.
The president of the Varsity Club, Alexander H. Bright '19, declined to be quoted yesterday on whether he thought the University would eventually build a new clubhouse.
"There is nothing new to say on the subject," Bright observed; "the statement of last fall covers the present situation fully."
The construction of the new building became a controversial topic last May when the Alumni Bulletin criticized the plan in an editorial and when 82 percent of the undergraduates polled opposed this use of unrestricted money from the estate of Allston Burr '89.
Proponents of the new clubhouse said that, although the money was left unrestricted, the University had a moral obligation to Burr. Bright said that Burr's "continuing interest in the Varsity club and frequently expressed desire to help build a new one "left the Corporation no alternative.
Adding a personal opinion, Bright said that he thought that the new club would be a valuable contribution to College life.
"Harvard athletics are at a low ebb, both from the student and the alumni point of view, and one reason is the lack of a focal point. People think Harvard is a cold place because it doesn't provide normal facilities for athletes, like the very fine clubhouses at Yale and Cornell. The new Varsity Club will cure this condition."
In its editorial the Bulletin said, "There is no doubt that Mr. Barr was interested in a new Varsity Club . . . The big point, it seems to us, is that he was very careful to give the University the freedom of choice . . .
"Harvard, after all, has a Varsity Club which could be made to do. But what about a new hockey rink, an expansion of the tutorial and advising system, more scholarships and aids, or additional athletic endowment? . . .
"Of course, there is-a moral obligations to Mr. Burr. But the obligation is to use his money for the great good and the great need."