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Cross-Campus Construction Transforms Harvard's Skyline

Summer Renovations

By Julian E. Barnes

Harvard was busy this summer altering its skyline to provide for expansion of its affiliated housing, art collection and hotel rooms in the Square.

Students fresh from summer vacation will find a campus consumed by the dulcet tones of jackhammers, backhoes and construction workers madly riveting girders.

It's all for a purpose though. By the end of 1991, the Fogg Art Museum will sport a new annex, a new affiliated housing development will grace DeWolfe St. and the east end of the Square will house a Harvard-owned hotel.

More Art

The ongoing construction on the Werner Otto Hall addition to the Fogg will again cause disturbances to the Fine Arts library, which last year had to relocate its circulation desk because of the construction.

"The library users have experienced the most disturbance. The daily construction noise is the loudest in there," said Marjorie B. Cohn, acting director of the Fogg.

Over the summer, progress was made on the exterior of the addition. It features pyramid-like skylights, porcelain tiles and limestone from Indiana.

The $7.5 million addition will provide a new home for the Busch-Reisinger Museum on the top floors and a new reading room for the Fine Arts Library on the ground level.

The outside should be completed by October, according to Brian Corkrim, who is supervising the project for Walsh Brothers Inc.

While asbestos removal from the points where the new addition connects with the Fogg temporarily slowed the work, it is now back on schedule, according to Harvard officals involved with the project.

The work is scheduled to be complete this spring, but art work will not be moved in until the fall to give the new building a chance to settle, Cohn said.

The addition's completed facade is in a strikingly different style than that of the Fogg museum itself, but according to Peter Nesbitt, curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, the new wing will blend well with the original.

"People can get a sense of the color relationships and the relationships between the materials on the two buildings," he said.

New Housing

Harvard's DeWolfe St. affiliated housing complex, which may house most of the College's transfer students, is scheduled to be completed by this coming May.

The building will have its exterior walls in place before winter and most of the construction work then will move to the interior of the building, said Scott B. Levitan, assistant vice president of construction and planning for Harvard Real Estate.

The noise will be significantly reduced when the work goes inside, he said.

"We've been working with house masters and house superintendents and if there is disruption the level is going to be less as it is enclosed," Levitan said.

This summer, workers removed dirt from the property, finished the garage facilities and erected the steel girders on the twin buildings. Masonry work on the exterior of the building has also begun, according to Levitan.

The Harvard Hotel

On August 20th, Harvard Real Estate broke ground for a new hotel on the Gulf Station site at the corner of Harvard St. and Mass. Ave. Under plans developed by former Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence, the lot will house a 116-room inn managed by the Compri and Doubletree Hotel chain.

The for-profit hotel will generate income for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences before being converted to an academic building some time after the year 2000.

Jackson Construction, the contractor working on the site, which has served as a parking lot for the past year, is scheduled to complete it's foundation work by the winter. The hotel should be completed by the end of 1991.

House Work

Eliot, Dunster and Mather Houses all saw renovation work during recent months, including newly painted walls and wood work repair, said Michael N. Lichten, director of physical operations for FAS. In addition to cosmetic work, new fire sprinklers were also installed in the Mather tower.

Sprinklers were also installed in Pennypacker hall as part of extensive repair work on that building's decaying plumbing system. New ramps installed in Pennypacker also make the building partially accessible to the handicapped.

Adams House is getting a brand new grease pit.

Harvard is constructing the pit on Plympton St. to comply with Massachusetts Water Resource Authorities regulations that forbid kitchen grease from entering the sewer lines.

Although construction on the grease pit has been delayed, it should be completed before residents arrive, according to Adams House Superintendent Hugh Joesph O'Conner.

Of Fields, Mail and Lights

The Athletic Department put in a new softball field, and did extensive draining, leveling and reseeding of the chronically wet portions of the fields.

Robinson Hall has new stairs and renovated offices. The Science Center has new chairs in some lecture halls. Leverett House has a new mail room. Blodgett Pool has a new filter. The Peabody Music Building has two new roofs.

Paine Hall, a popular site for music and Core classes, will soon sport new seats, reconstructed walls, refinished floors and new lighting and heating systems.

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