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Faculty Room Closed; Capacity to Be Tested

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The Faculty Room of University Hall has been closed until engineers currently inspecting it calculate how many people it can hold safely.

The inspection began after cracks appeared on the ceilings in Dean Watson's office below the Faculty Room, following the student occupation on April 9.

Richard G. Leahy, assistant dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for Resources and Planning, said yesterday that the cracks were a result of the occupation, "not because of malicious damage, but because there were too many people in the Faculty Room." The City of Cambridge had fixed a limit of 250 people in the room in a July 1968 inspection.

During the inspection of the floor last week, structural engineers discovered that the supports were not constructed as previously believed, Leahy said. The discrepancies include the thickness of the wood supports and the distance between the columns on which these supports rest, he added.

Some of the confusion about the structure of the building may have been caused by changes in University Hall, Leahy said. "At one time the area below the Faculty Room was an open area, a dining hall. When it was divided into offices, the partitions concealed the supports," he said.

Panels Cut in Ceiling

Abraham Woolf, a Boston engineer, is now surveying the entire building to learn about its structure. So far Buildings and Grounds workers have cut five panels in the ceiling of Dean Watson's offices to aid the inspection, William E. Mini, superintendent of Buildings and Grounds in the College Area, said yesterday.

He added that the first part of Woolf's report may be in by next week, and that as soon as the proper loading capacity for the Faculty Room is established, it will be reopened.

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