The Science Center Plaza is scheduled to undergo surface-level refurbishments in the coming months to enhance the safety and quality of pedestrian and bike access and provide more outdoor seating areas.
The initial stages of this project, which is a joint effort between Harvard and the City of Cambridge, will commence in the coming weeks and continue through May. This week, several prototype benches are being placed in the plaza south of the ice skating rink.
The plaza renovations grew out of a larger effort this year to make improvements to the Cambridge Street Tunnel. The tunnel, built in the 1960s, will undergo a range of structural repairs and infrastructure improvements as part of the Cambridge Street Tunnel Infrastructure and Surface Improvements Project.
As part of this project, the sidewalks between Quincy Street and the Johnston Gate will be rebuilt and utilities will be upgraded.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesperson Jeff Neal said that the University welcomes the opportunity presented by the tunnel renovations to enact improvements to the public space between the Yard and the Science Center.
The project website notes that developers aim to “maintain an open space area that can be enjoyed by the community” through the renovations.
A number of outdoor performances and events have been hosted in the plaza since it was brought under the umbrella of Harvard Common Spaces Program last fall. Ongoing activities, including the temporary ice rink and food truck vendors, will continue throughout repairs.
Student input is being considered in the planning and design of the plaza.
“We are working to incorporate student feedback [on] how they would like to see the space used and on a number of potential design elements,” said Neal.
“I would be in support of expanding that space to accommodate more people. People tend to congregate in that area anyway,” said Jason C. Sarte ’12.
“It would be nice to make it a social center,” Sarte added.
The construction team is working to minimize disruption and plans to maintain pedestrian and bike access through the Plaza during the construction period.
“It’s good for the students. Who would be against it?” said Aida R. Ruiz ’13.
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