Back to the Yard
After Completing Several Projects in Harvard Square, The University Turns Its Attention Inward
After years of heavy development in the Square, Harvard has brought its workers home to the Yard.
A full seven buildings, more than half of the structures in the Old Yard, were shrouded in scaffolding this summer--the most construction the College has seen in decades.
While it may have been a nuisance to those left in Cambridge over the summer, many of the Yardlings will benefit this year from heated bedrooms, smoothed stairs and more secure dorms.
The improvement is the first phase of a three year, $70 million plan to renovate the Yard dorms.
The one building that has yet to shed its summer scaffolding is Weld Hall. Work crews gutted Weld this summer, leaving the timeworn structure without many interior walls, windows and wiring--and leaving its would be residents living in 24 Garden St.
When the dust clears, Weld will be equipped with wood floors, an elevator, new windows and full access for disabled people, says David A. Zewinski '76, Harvard Real Estate's spokesperson for the renovation project.
The old wooden walls will be replaced with sheet rock and plaster and many suites will be reorganized with new rooming patterns, he says.
In addition to the structural changes, Zewinski says that the window trim on Weld, Grays Hall and Matthews Hall will revert to their historically-accurate colors. Weld's windows will be painted black and maroon, the window frames on Grays will be given a teal wash, and Matthews will be highlighted with mustard yellow tones.
Once the Weld project reaches completion, which Zewinski says should happen by December 31, all students living in Matthews Hall will move to Weld to finish out the year.
Once Matthews is finished, which the College estimates will be in September of next year, Grays and Holworthy residents will be placed in Thayer while their buildings are renovated, Zewinski says.
The College has also renovated ancient Mass Hall, expanding the administration's office space and removing eight beds from the dorm. Zewinski says the lost beds will be replaced in other dorms during the renovations.
The project also restored the clock on the front of Mass Hall. The renovation, costing $33,000, rebuilt the wooden frame around the clock, adding new wood to the original, says Didier O. Thomas, associate director for project planning. The clock face, originally gold and dark blue, will be covered by a replica designed by sculptor Bob Shure. Thomas expects the new face to be installed in mid-October.
Lionel and Mower Halls have been given new interiors, and Zewinski says that students will have heat in their bedrooms for the first time.
All of the yard dorms also had their lock and keys replaced with electronic card readers, giving students more security and illuminating the yard at night with little green LED lights.
Boylston Hall, covered with workers for most of the summer, has had many of its first floor windows bricked over, its interior cleaned out and renovation done to the interior including new carpeting.
This summer saw work on more than just Yard buildings. Workers continued, and are continuing, to renovate the fence surrounding the yard.
The University also reset the stairs over Pusey Library and replaced the Yard's 6-inch water main with a new 12-inch line, which will allow for the increased water need from the sprinklers being installed in all dorms.
While the greatest concentration of activity was in the Yard, the Houses have also embarked on shorter-term renovation plans, which took place this summer.
Quincy House enjoyed the largest renovation project, with a new dining room floor and roof, and newly finished floors in the old building, according to Suzanne Watts, assistant to the master. Sprinklers were also added to the new building, to comply with Massachusetts law requiring all buildings over six stories to have sprinklers, according to Watts.
Quincy residents and visitors can also look forward to a new serving line in the dining hall, which Watts says "may not be interesting to anyone else, but we're happy about it."