The Harvard Corporation voted unanimously yesterday to proceed with plans for the $56-million Medical School area power plant and the adjoining $50-million Mission Park Housing project.
The Corporation's support for the project comes after about five years of tentative approval, Treasurer George Putnam '49 said yesterday.
"This is the biggest undertaking that Harvard has ever taken," Putnam said yesterday. "We spent more time today on the power plant than on any issue I can remember."
Putnam said, "Harvard is not going ahead with the Mission Park Housing Project until every clearance is received for the power plant." But he said the Boston Redevelopment Authority board chairman, who can authorize a building plant for the project will probably approve the project Thursday.
"The bulldozers will be in there shortly," Putnam said.
The power plant will supply the Medical School, the housing project, and ten other medical-related facilities in the area with electricity, steam cooling and chilled water.
If the redevelopment authority approves the power plant, only a planned court suit from Boston Edison, the current electrical supplier in the area, could detain completion of both the power plant and housing project by 1977-78.
The housing project, which has already been approved by the redevelopment agency, is still waiting for $40 million in public housing loans from the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency.
Putnam said yesterday that Harvard has entered into agreements with the State Street Bank for loans needed to move ahead on the housing project because the housing agency has been unsuccessful in floating bonds for its projects.
Harvard is using its credit to back-up all loans to the housing project, Putnam said.
The University leased a 13-acre parcel near the Medical School for the construction of the 774-unit mixed-income housing to the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard, independent developer H. Ralph Taylor and general contractor George Macomber in April 1974.
The power plant has come under attack by some residents-in the area. But at a hearing on the plant, held this summer, the residents voted 3-1 in favor of the plant's construction.
Harvard's Corporation, comprised of the president, the treasurer and five Fellows of Harvard College, is empowered to act as the principal decision-maker in the governance of the University.