Workmen should finish construction on the new John F. Kennedy School of Government in time for the building to open for the 1978 school year, the school's assistant dean said this week.
Ira A. Jackson '70 said work on the new building "is moving at a hellish pace," and should be completed by August 1978.
"Everything to date has been working just according to our schedule, which is rare," he added.
The building occupies the site of the old Eliot St. MBTA yard, formerly proposed as the site for the John F. Kennedy '40 Memorial Library. The Kennedy Library Corporation, faced by opposition from local residents who feared that the volume of the complex's anticipated visitors would disrupt their neighborhood, decided in November 1975 to switch the location of the library to the Columbia Point campus of UMass.
Harvard has stuck to its plan to build the Kennedy School and a Kennedy Memorial Park in the area.
When completed, the new building will house both the Kennedy School, currently headquartered in Littauer Center, and the Institute of Politics, now located on Mt. Auburn St.
Jackson estimated the total cost of moving the Kennedy School and the Institute of Politics at $12 million. That figure includes both the basic construction costs and the expense of relocating and refurbishing the facilities now in Littauer, he said.
Kennedy School officials last year estimated that basic construction costs would run about $5 million.
The building will sit next to anothe parcel of land on the MBTA yard site, which the Commonwealth has opened up for bidding by private development firms. A committee chaired by State Rep. Thomas H.D. Mahoney is currently considering three proposals for the land, and will probably reach a decision this fall.
The Gilbane Company of Providence, R.I. is in charge of the construction. Jackson said the company's workers are using a special building technique, called "super fast-track construction," to complete the project as soon as possible.
He added that the only possible obstacles that might prevent the new school from opening on schedule are "labor strikes and acts of God."
The construction of the new building is part of a larger plan to expand the operations of the Kennedy School. Graham T. Allison '62, incoming dean of the school, said last March he hopes to double the size of the school's student body and faculty within the next decade.