City councilor Alfred E. Vellucci will meet with a Harvard official "more highly placed than Derek Bok" this afternoon to try to get athletic facilities for city schoolchildren from the University.
Though Vellucci declined to say whom he would meet, explaining that Harvard officials had asked him to keep the session "quiet," sources speculated that he would sit down with a member of the University's Board of Overseers.
Vellucci, Harvard's staunchest critic on the city council, said he would ask Harvard to provide athletic facilities and playing fields while construction continues on several new facilities.
He also demanded that city officials investigate the ownership of land above the underpass connecting the Yard with the Science Center, property the city has long claimed.
If the area belongs to the city, Vellucci proposed that it be used as space for gym classes and Cambridge Rindge and Latin School athletic teams. "They've got that nice velvety-green lawn out there, and surely we can put some kind of facility for our children on it," Vellucci said.
Harvard officials were unavailable for comment last night, but they have said they are willing to discuss the issue with city lawyers.
The city is renovating its main public swimming pool and construction has not yet begun on a fieldhouse by Broadway High School. City Manager James L. Sullivan said last night the School Board has asked Harvard to let the city use its facilities.
"They were told that all the playing fields, courts and tracks were needed for the use of students at Harvard," Sullivan said, adding that if the city could establish its claim to ownership of the land above the underpass, it would have "added leverage" in its dealings with the University