Council to View Mem Hall Plans
Dean Jewett to Present Proposal for Student Center
Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 will unveil Harvard's proposal for a revamped Memorial Hall at the Undergraduate Council meeting this Sunday, making public for the first time the details of the College's plan for a student center in the renovated building.
Along with Associate Dean for Physical Resources Philip J. Parsons, Jewett will run a one-hour slide show and answer questions about the project, which has remained a feasibility study on the college's backburners for two years because of a lack of funding.
"They have a very polished presentation to make," said Council Chair Guhan Subramanian '91-92. "It should be fairly informational and fairly eye-opening. There are a lot of features in the student center that students don't know about."
Under the current plans Memorial Hall's Great Hall would be converted to a new first-year dining hall, freeing the Harvard Union for use as a multimillion dollar Center for the Humanities. Student groups currently in the Memorial Hall basement will be relocated out of the building, which will also house a central kitchen, a performance space and several "leased grills" or eating areas.
The plans also call for modifying Sanders Theater to add a dressing room, rehearsal space, a storage room for instruments and a piano lift.
"The idea was to make it a vital and active student social center," said Daniel McCoubrey, the architect in charge of the study. "It included games and the possibility of leaving it open late hours, possibly. The idea was to restore the grand rooms upstairs and down below adding the less informal but fun stuff."
Sunday night's presentation will be the first time the entire council sees the plan, Parsons said Tuesday, adding that the purpose of the meeting was to bring the council up to date on the effort.
Jewett said that there had been no movement on the plan since the fall of 1988, when the study was completed. "Nothing has changed," he said. "There hasn't been any evolution, [and] there won't be until we have some of the funds to do it."
Jewett said the College is not trying to raise funds for the project directly, but that the project would be funded through a larger capital campaign. Harvard is currently preparing to embark on an unprecedented $2 billion fund drive.
According to Parsons, the plan which he and jewett will present has support from the administation but is still subject to change.
"I think there's a lot of commitment to it by President [Derek C.] Bok and by Dean [of the Faculty A. Michael] Spence," Parsons said. "[but] nothing's cast in stone."
Parsons also said that space constraints might limit the number of features the new student center could contain, adding that it would probably not satisfy the hopes of many undergraduates," said Plummer Professor of Christian Morals Reverend Peter J. Gomes.
"I think it's easy to raise expectations to a higher level than can be met," Parsons said.