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UMass Won the Library, But Is Not Building Yet

By Wyatt Emmerich

Over a year ago, the Kennedy Library Corporation unanimously voted to locate the multi-million dollar Kennedy Library complex at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Columbia Point in Dorchester, ending twelve years of indecision and delay as to the fate of the highly contested gift.

The action was seen by many as a blow to Harvard and a personal victory for UMass president Robert Wood.

One factor in the decision to build the complex at UMass was the corporation's desire to move ahead quickly with the project, stalled nearly 12 years.

UMass had scheduled the groundbreaking ceremonies for May 29, 1976.

But last spring came and went and the ground at Columbia Point remained undisturbed.

Construction is now scheduled to begin late next spring.

"There was a very early hope that it would be possible to get started last spring," Howard White, assistant to the president at UMass, said Monday. "But that was not realistic at the time and we abandoned those projections very soon after we received the library and started planning on construction."

"The site of the library was changed to the other side of the campus, because there is a better view," White said.

White said that UMass had fulfilled all of its obligations and had had no control over the delays.

Don K. Price, dean of the Kennedy School of Government, said Tuesday he naturally regretted the decision but felt no ill-will toward UMass or the Kennedy Library Corporation for the decision.

"I would hate to go back and figure out the differences in cost and time between early projections and end results of past construction projects at Harvard," Price said.

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