Harvard has agreed to finance the building of new suites in South House this summer. The plan was approved last month by the South House Master and Co-Master and the Radcliffe Board of Trustees.
Hale Champion, financial vice president, said yesterday that he does not yet know where the $60,000 or $70,000 for the project will come from. But he added that he has assured Martin and Anne Peretz, the Trustees and the Faculty that the central administration will take responsibility for the costs.
Although Radcliffe still owns the three Quad Houses under the terms of the 1971 non-merger merger agreement, Harvard is charged with paying the operating expenses. Last year Harvard helped to finance some renovations in Currier House, but this is the first time that Harvard has agreed to foot the entire bill for construction at Radcliffe.
The plan calls for the conversion of the old kitchen and dining room area between Barnard and Briggs Halls into two large suite areas housing ten students. One of the rooms is now used for ping pong and foosball tables and the other is unused.
Champion said although it is unusual for his office to grant final approval to a project without having the money already committed, he had decided to go ahead because "if we don't get started soon, the whole thing won't get done."
Martin H. Peretz, master of South House, said the addition of suites will help South House better accommodate students who have been asked to live in the Quad Houses against their will in recent years and who desire an alternative to the single-bedroom, communal-bathroom lifestyle in the Quad dormitories.
Peretz and Richard G. Leahy, associate dean for resources and planning, began discussing the finances for the construction in April. The plans have existed for several years as part of a long-term renovation proposal for South House for which Harvard has been unable to obtain money.
Susan S. Lyman '49, chairman of the Radcliffe Trustees, said last week that the Trustees are concerned about the "general assumption" that the Quad Houses are not as well provided for as the River Houses. Two of the Three Quad Houses, North and South, have several buildings which were built at the beginning of the century and have never been significantly renovated.
Peretz said he hopes Harvard's decision to help South House indicates that Harvard is aware of the problems and antiquated facilities in the Quad Houses and is now ready to remedy the situation.
"This is the first indication that the President and the Dean may be willing to have the Radcliffe Houses be something other than Siberia," Peretz said.
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