SEAS Finalizes List of Academic Areas Moving to Allston

The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has finalized the list of academic areas moving across the Charles River to its new Allston complex, the steel frame of which should be visible on Western Avenue starting around next March.

Four teaching areas—bioengineering, mechanical engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering—as well as the soft materials and robotics units make up the final list of groups that will move to Allston, according to SEAS spokesperson Paul Karoff. Applied physics, Applied Mathematics, and Environmental Science and Engineering will remain in Cambridge.

The Allston complex will serve two-thirds of SEAS faculty and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020. Currently, construction involves reorganization of below-grade steel of the existing foundation on site, according to Kevin Casey, Harvard’s associate vice president of public affairs and communications.

“Around March or slightly later, we’re looking to go for the full permit for the actual, full steel construction. You will begin to see steel rising from the building and a greater presence of cranes above ground,” he said.

The importance of collaboration with departments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences factored into the decision of which areas will stay in Cambridge, Karoff said.

“Environmental Science and Engineering are integrally linked with Earth and Planetary Sciences, so their proximity and co-location are critical to the kind of work they do,” Karoff said. “Similarly, Applied physics and Physics as you might imagine are closely collaborative and also rely extensively on the Center for Nanoscale Systems that’s in the LISE building.”

Three SEAS faculty members are leading an effort to rethink the use of spaces opened up by the move and the operation of the SEAS areas remaining in Cambridge, according to Karoff.

The Harvard endowment’s lackluster returns in recent years will not affect the complex’s construction timeline.

“The entire Allston campus remains a top priority for the University. Construction is already underway at the Science and Engineering Complex, and financing for the project is assured,” University spokesperson Brigid O’Rourke wrote in an email.

—Staff writer Narayan T. Sundararajan contributed reporting to this story.

—Staff writer Jessica Kim can be reached at jessica.kim@thecrimson.com. Follow her on twitter @kimyjessica.

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