University Approves Plan To Begin the Tenth House
The Harvard Corporation voted last week to proceed with the final planning and construction of the 10th House.
The decision ends years of frustrating delay and assures that the House, which will accommodate 400 students, will be ready for occupancy by the fall of 1969.
It will be built on land adjacent to both Leverett and Dunster Houses and will consist of four units -- three low-rise structures and one tower. The towar may have as many as 20 stories, which would make it far higher than either of Harvard's other new Houses, Leverett Towers (11 stories) and Quincy House (six).
The yet unnamed House will provide a single bedroom for each student, although it will be designed to allow for roommate groups of varying sizes. If past precedent is followed, a Master for the House will probably be selected be- before construction; the Master would then participate in some of the late designing decisions.
The Boston architectural firm of Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbot -- the designers of Leverett and Quincy -- will now work on a final design for the House and seek Corporation approval for the plan in the fall. It will then make detailed working drawings, a process which will take about eight months. The University should be ready to ask for bids sometime next spring and start construction in the late spring or summer.
When completed, the House will allow Harvard to ease overcrowding in other Houses. It will also bring most of the 200 students now living off-campus back into the House system.
Harvard has wanted to build the House, which will now cost about $6 million, for many years, but has been repeatedly delayed because it could not find a suitable site.
When, early in the decade, the University was unable to acquire its first choice, the Bennett St. repair yards of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, it turned to a block of land behind Dunster House. Harvard owned most of the land in this area' lacked one crucial plot.
Harvard st. does not own that land, and last week's decision was to build around it. The site for the House will now be divided in two: most of the House will be built on the block behind Dunster (this area is bounded by Cowperthwaite, Flagg, and Banks Streets and McCarthy Road); the rest will be located across Cowperthwaite on a piece of land adjacent to Leverett.
Negotiations between the owners of the one hold-out plot and the University have not broken down. Just last week, Harvard officials sat down with lawyers for the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Henry McNamara. The McNamaras are separated, and one of the problems is reported to be reaching an agreement satisfortory to both husband and wife. Harvard has already offered about $40,000 to $45,000 for the property.
University officials are unsure about their chances of acquiring the land in the immediate future. If Harvard does get it, the plan for the House will be modified to put it all on a single block.
Under the tentative plans favored by the architects, Harvard would ask the City to make some changes in the area's roads. The architect has proposed, for example, that Cowperthwaite St. be altered slightly to make it meet Surrey St. directly.
Another possibility envisioned is the fully or partial closing of McCarthy Road. If the University acquired the McNamara house it would ask the City for permission to close the entire road. It it failed to acquire the plot, it would only ask that part of the road be closed.