First-Years Participate In Mem. Hall Planning

In an effort to collect student input, members of the Memorial Hall Planning Committee met Monday night and last night with first-year students to discuss the Memorial hall renovation project.

Earlier this fall, University administrators announced plans to convert the historic Victorian building into a student activity center ready for use in September, 1995. The plans include moving the first-year dining hall to Memorial Hall and transforming the Harvard Union into a center for humanity studies.

Philip J. Parsons, the committee's director of planning, said that the new student activity center will make better use of existing buildings and improve undergraduate life.

"There is a definite need for more common space for undergraduates," said Parsons, who is also associate dean for physical resources.

"A center like this would give freshmen the chance to better integrate into the college community," Parsons said.

"It seems as if there is a real crash, in termsof meeting new people, after the first coupleweeks of the school year. This will hopefully keepit going," he said.


Blueprints for the $20 million renovation ofMemorial Hall show a revamped lower level with anopen cafe, a game room, a lounge area, rehearsalrooms, meeting rooms and study rooms.

The plans also include transforming the upperlevel into the first-year dining hall. No changeswill be made to Sanders Theatre.

The student groups which currently occupyoffice space in the lower level of Memorial Hallwill probably move to the center for humanitiesstudies to be constructed in the Harvard Union,Parsons said.

First-years at the meeting Monday night saidthey welcomed the creation of the center.

"One thing we're lacking is community space forstudents to congregate," said Peter S. Cahn '96."I think this will facilitate the process ofmeeting new people."

Many first-years observed that, unlike mostcolleges, Harvard does not have a social centerfor the whole student body. "The addition of astudent center would make the social life herecomplete," said Joseph S. Evangelista '96.

However, some who attended the meetingexpressed concerns about the renovation plan.

"The only bit of recompense we Union Dormershave for not living on the Yard is that we can getup in the morning, roll out of bed, and head onover to the Union in minutes," said PennypackerHall resident Charles V. Graham '96.

"The Union dorms will become the equivalent of29 Garden St. with the dining hall so far away,"he said.

At the meeting Parsons also announced plans forrenovating the basements of the Union dorms intocommon rooms with couches, television sets andpool and ping-pong tables. In addition, Parsonssaid, renovations will be made to Yard dorms whichcurrently lack common rooms.

Details are still tentative and the committeeis open to student suggestions, Parsons said.

According to Director of Dining ServicesMichael W. Berry, the committee may also allowstudents on the meal plan to eat at the cafe aspart of their board

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