Yard Dorm Renovation Going Well, Officials Say

The first-year dorm renovation project has required a great deal of money, negotiation and effort, but so far seems to be going well, three key figures in the project told about fifty first-year students gathered in the Union Rotunda Room Friday.

John T. Dunlop, Lamont University professor emeritus; Joseph W. Nigro, general agent for the Boston chapter of the Building and Construction Trades Council; and David A. Zewinski '76, senior vice president for property operations and construction at Harvard Real Estate, all spoke briefly on and answered questions from first years about the dorm renovation project, which is slated to be finished by fall 1995.

Dunlop and Nigro, who helped negotiate the Project-Labor Agreement between Harvard and local unions, explained the agreement, under which the union takes a 10 percent pay cut for renovation work and agreesnot to strike or make a time-consuming protest andmanagement agrees to use only union labor.

"There were two constraints; they had to getthe damn thing done on time...and you can't fussaround with those buildings in the Yard on theoutside," said Dunlop.

Zewinski estimated that about 1,000 peopleworked over the summer to renovate Greenough,Hollis, Hurlbut, Matthews, Pennypacker, Stoughtonand Thayer. "In the 20 years that I've been here,it's without a doubt the most [extensive]construction project done under such timeconstraints," he said.

Nigro emphasized, however, that the unionsinvolved had made some sacrifices to allow theproject to proceed.


"The most difficult part of the agreement wasgetting people to agree to take the lower wagerate," he said.

"The 10 percent break will probably average toabout $1 million--that's $1 million you as futurealumni will not have to donate."

Special Arrangements

Harvard had to make special arrangements inother areas as well. Zewinski said Harvardrequested from the state of Massachusetts thelargest variance request ever for compliance withthe American Disabilities Act.

"Some dorms were made more accessible than wasneeded in return for not doing so to otherbuildings," he said. "We clustered accessibledorms together."

First-years asked several questions about whatthe renovation project will entail and what dormswill look like in the end.

One inquired about the presence of asbestos in29 Garden St. A University-commissioned report onasbestos in that facility, which was obtained byThe Crimson, says that any of six actions,including "routine cleaning" and "movingfurniture," could release the carcinogen into theair.

Zewinski said the asbestos at 29 Garden St. isbeing managed effectively.

"All asbestos in the building now is innon-hazardous conditions," he said. "As long asthere is not excessive abuse, such as ripping upthe floor, it's not hazardous."

Another first-year asked what was planned forCanaday, comparing it to "a Motel 6 after ahurricane."

Zewinski said that there were three possiblescopes for renovating Canaday. "[They range] frombasically building a new building around Canadayto fixing it up so that it will last another 15years," he said. The options are still underdiscussion, he said

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