Scaffolds extend around much of their perimeters and the scars of construction mar the courtyards inside, but newly-renovated Lowell House and Winthrop House are available for occupancy today, the official opening date of the Harvard Houses.
An intensive two-week push to finish the inside work in the first installment of a seven-year, $35-million overhaul of all the Houses has left Lowell and the Standish portion of Winthrop freshly painted and varnished, with new lights and electrical outlets--and a good dose of inconveniences.
A number of minor repair jobs--ranging from installing storm windows to reattaching towel racks--will continue throughout the week, meaning that a flurry of work will continue as students get settled.
Workers will also be dismantling the scaffold throughout the month. Project Manager Roger Cayer predicted Friday that 80 percent of the staging would be down by next week.
Preliminary indications suggest that students will be impressed by their improved living conditions when they return. One Lowell student, Steven E. Price '84, inspected his renovated room Friday, saying, "We were going to redo all of this." He added: "Now all we have to worry about is fitting two people into this room."
Lowell Master William H. Bossert '59 said yesterday that students poking around the Houses this week had been pleased with the way their rooms looked. "There's a lot of construction dirt around, but there's much less student dirt," he added.
But Bossert expressed concern over security problems posed by the work, which will continue in the basements through December. Harvard police apprehended a roof construction worker earlier this summer while the employee was allegedly attempting to rob the residence of pre-med tutor James L. Michel, Bossert said.
Because of the prevalence of construction workers around Lowell and Winthrop, Bossert has asked Cayer to assign a special-duty policeman to guard the premises but has not yet received a response. Cayer could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The master also expressed reservations about the changes, citing splattered paint and unattractive varnish as two examples of disappointing repairs.
College officials have repeatedly said that they viewed this summer's renovations as a learning experience which would help make the projects in subsequent summers as efficient and successful as possible. It is unknown which Houses will undergo similar wholesale repairs next.