The Harvard Square post office will close early next year for renovations, but officials promised that the move will have little effect on students.
The building's owner, Postauburn Inc., is enlarging the building, located on Mount Auburn Street across from Chili's, from one story to four. The post office will remain on the first floor.
According to Postauburn representative Robert Schlager, the development company plans to fill the three new stories with local commercial offices and to improve the existing post office.
Schlager said the developer is planning a "safer, more efficient postal facility" with shelters for bus stops, brick sidewalks, trees and other features that will blend with and improve the immediate area. The post office will perform its own interior renovations.
The new post office is being nicknamed a "store of the millennium," Schlager said.
Meanwhile, Postauburn is looking for a temporary home for the post office. According to Marsha A. Cannon, postmaster of the Central Square and Harvard Square area, it is unlikely that the post office will find a space large enough to house the 10,000 square feet needed for basic operations, due to the tight space crunch of Harvard Square.
Instead, the post office is making plans to move the entire facility--post office boxes and all--into nearby trailers. The move, however, "wouldn't affect service at all," Cannon said. "We are 90 percent sure we're going back to where we are."
When asked how inconvenienced she would feel, area resident Thais R. Corral said, "it's going to be a little inconvenience, but those things happen. What else could they do?"
Customers who frequently use post office boxes say it's a small sacrifice but one they are willing to make.
"For the sake of improvement, inconveniences are worth it," said Grantley H. Lowe, who uses one of the post office boxes.
The changes will have no effect on the mail service in the Houses and the Harvard Yard Mail Center. David R. Barry, assistant manager of Harvard University Mail Services, said that the Harvard Square post office is "a separate entity" and has nothing to do with the mail that comes to the Houses and the mail center. Mail received by the College comes directly from the Central Square post office.
Although the Central Square post office is also being renovated, all modifications will be finished by Dec. 10 and will not significantly affect service, said Leonard J. Poirier, a representative of the post office. All of the Central post office, he said, is being renovated, "from cellar to top floor." This may make things " a little slower," he said, but not noticeably.