In the euphoria surrounding last April's unveiling of plans for the Fogg Museum's extension, it seemed that nothing would prevent ground-breaking from taking place on schedule during the summer.
But the summer has passed, Allston Burr Hall still stands on the spot where the new wing is supposed to rise, and it appears that, at the earliest, construction could begin next fall.
Concern over the Fogg's future financial standing led the Corporation earlier this week to put a hold on the expansion plans. Corporation members were particularly worried about construction bids for the new building that were "substantially over" the original projection of $5.9 million, Seymour Slive, director of the Fogg, said this week.
Slive added that he and members of the Fogg staff will try to devise a new plan for the expansion, which may include minor changes in design, to resubmit to the Corporation in a month.
British architect James Stirling, who designed the new wing, said yesterday he met with Slive last weekend to discuss cost-cutting measures for the new building, but he declined to say what they had decided on.
The Corporation also expressed concern about the Fogg's long-range ability to fund its programs. "The issue is one prevelant throughout the University," Thomas O'Brien, financial vice-president, said yesterday, adding that endowments cannot keep pace with inflation. The Fogg relies on endowment for almost a third of its income, O'Brien said.
Because of the Corporation's concern, the Fogg staff will review all aspects of the Fogg's operations in addition to the new wing.
"The issue of ensuring the stability of the Fogg for the foreseeable future must be resolved before the Corporation would approve plans for the new building," Slive said.
Fogg staff members were disappointed by the construction delay. But at least one, Konrad Oberhuber, professor of Fine Arts, was understanding: "The Corporation wants to be cautious at a time when endowments for the arts are not very generous."
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