Sometimes it's the little things that cause the biggest headaches.
Take the metal bar found in the main drain of Grays Hall while the dorm was being renovated this summer.
It was about one and one-half inches thick, and at most one and one-half feet long, according to Edith Groden, who was in charge of the Grays renovation. In fact, the bar, buried away in a basement drain, had escaped notice since at least 1960 and possibly since 1920.
If only it had been noticed before. That relatively small bar, Groden says, has been responsible for the periodic sewer drain backups Grays has suffered for the past several years. "We would clean out the [debris], but we didn't know what was causing the backups," she says.
In some ways, the discovery of the metal bar reflects the nature of the summer 1994 stage of the first-year dorm renovations. The project heads would probably not describe their jobs--the renovation of six dorms--as being small.
Yet while a lot of renovation went on in the Yard this summer, none was on the scale of the guttings of Matthews, Thayer and Weld Halls that relegated several hundred first-years to 29 Garden St. over the past two years. Instead, the changes were more specific--replacing leaky roofs, installing new sprinkler systems, restoring a historic facade.
Under the Hammer
Grays, Canaday, Hollis, Holworthy, Pennypacker and Stoughton Halls all went under the hammer this summer, the third year in a row that construction workers have visited the Yard for June, July and August.
In 1992, Lionel, the exterior of Massachusetts, Mower and Weld Halls were redone; in 1993, Greenough, Hollis, Hurlbut, Matthews, Pennypacker, Stoughton and Thayer underwent varying degrees of renovation.
For the first time in two years, though, the renovation work will not spill over into the fall, and first-year occupants will not be displaced. Even Canaday, which officials said in June might still need work as first-years were moving in, was completed on time, according to project manager Alana M. Knuff.
"There is a brand-new, beautiful, non-leaky roof," Knuff says. "Canaday looks like it's gotten a nice facelift."
Besides replacing the chronically leaking roof, workers also renovated all bathrooms, corridors and stairwells, and installed ventilation systems. Canaday B has a new entry ramp and suites for disabled students on its first floor, and an elevator was installed between the C and D entryways.
Workers also repainted student rooms in Canaday B. Suites in the six other entries, however, were left alone. "We never had time to get into any of the other suites," Knuff says. "I don't know when....I don't call those shots."
Students in groups that have gotten new offices in the renovated Canaday basements should have few complaints. According to Sarah E. Flatley-Wheaton, assistant dean of students, the Independent has moved from Canaday G to A, the Harvard Program of Asian International Relations and the Science Review will be housed in D entry and the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and the Islamic Society will be in E.
The Undergraduate Council, whose headquarters have traditionally been in Canaday, has been moved to the newly redone basement of Holworthy, Flatley-Wheaton says. The student government will be joined by the Black Students Association, Citystep, the Gilbert and Sullivan Players, the Harvard Mediation Service, the International Students Council and the Review of Philosophy.
Holworthy and Pennypacker now boast new fire alarms and new heating, lighting and sprinkler systems. Holworthy also got new wooden floors and additional showers.
Elizabeth L. Buckley, who has supervised the renovation of Holworthy, Pennypacker, Matthews and Hurlbut, says this summer's work finished on time and under budget.
"We had a decent schedule on both of these buildings because we were able to start in January," she says. "Each year it becomes just a little easier."
A quick glance at the lists of dorms undergoing renovations each summer would reveal some repeat victims, such as Hollis and Stoughton.
Both North Yard dorms were renovated last summer--except for their bathrooms. Stoughton also gained a new laundry and recycling room, and the historic mahogany facade on its west side was redone.
According to the various project managers, all the renovations were completed on schedule, although some warn that a few details need to be cleared up. Pennypacker residents, for example, will be without radiator covers for a few days.
Next summer, the $60 million renovation project will be finished when Massachusetts, Straus and Wigglesworth Halls go under the scaffolding.
Results of the renovation are notice-able to those who have watched it go on--clean brick walls, sturdy new window frames, brighter rooms.
Despite the numerous facelifts, however, Buckley said many of the halls' new residents may not even notice.
"We were just walking through the Yard and thinking about how nice the buildings look and how the parents are going to [appreciate] them," she said. "Of course, they're not going to know they just got renovated...."