Together with the report to the Board of Overseers, a summary of which appears in another column, was submitted the suggestion, "that the Board of Overseers request the President and Fellows to reconsider their vote of November 7, 1894, in relation to the lands and buildings of the College, and appoint a committee to confer on the subject with a committee from the Board of Overseers." This was approved by the Board, but the Corporation, while appointing such a committee, as in 1894, considered a complete scheme for the future development of the College property, impracticable.
That the President and Fellows are in the best position to judge the desirability of such a plan is undoubted, they are in closer touch with all that is of present or future importance to the University than any of the Governing Boards. Notwithstanding, there is much in the plans of the committee which, we believe, would prove of lasting benefit to the University. Even if it is undesirable that a complete scheme for the future development of the College property should be formulated, even if the future needs of the College in the way of buildings cannot be outlined, to the laity at least it seems as if the possibilities of buildings on the present property can be mapped out, so that some general course may be followed in the future.
To take a practical example. Several years ago the Corporation made the somewhat indefinite promise of a site in the yard for Phillips Brooks House. There was nothing at the time to cause much consideration of its exact position, or to suggest a possible qualification of the promise, and when the time came for a final decision they found themselves apparently tied to a selection which they did not fully approve, and which is now causing general disgust.
If at the time there had been some recognized outline for the development of even the Yard property, the Corporation would have been able to say; "if your building comes up to certain specifications we will give you such and such a site, otherwise it is impossible to make you any promises." No doubt when they made the promise the Corporation had some site in mind for a $300,000 structure such as Brooks House was purposed to be; now they feel that to give a $50,000 building such a site would be a waste of needed ground, and they are therefore forced to place it where any architectural beauty it may possess will be largely wasted, and where it will detract from that of other buildings.
It is a fact that the Corporation have certain definite ideas as to the future possibilities of the property, but since few know what they are, the frequent criticism is that the Corporation have nothing in mind but questions of present economy and convenience. We should therefore urge that some plan for the development of the present property be publicly adopted. Then if future bequests or the conditions on which money is given should render it expedient to depart from this plan, opportune rather than tardy criticism would be insured and greater forethought exercised.