Construction Noise Bothers Eliot Students

Residents of the Eliot House's G and H entries say early morning noise from the renovation of the dining hall's kitchen has disrupted their sleep and study habits.

The entries rest directly above the underground kitchen, which prepares meals for five river houses. Residents claim that the work, which often begins before 8 a.m., has become a serious annoyance as they prepare for final exams.

"I'm studying for generals and exams," says Jessica L. Walling '94. "I can't concentrate or sleep."

A flyer has been posted around the house listing the phone number of a University project manager, James J. Donovan, and advertising a meeting to discuss the issue at 4 p.m. today.

Renovations began April 29 and are scheduled to be completed by September 10.

The project will cost about $5 million and will replace the kitchen's plumbing, floors, tunnels and ovens.

Officials warn that if the construction crews fall behind schedule, residents of Eliot, Leverett, Lowell, Kirkland and Winthrop Houses may find themselves without meal service when theyreturn to school next fall.

"We need to feed 2,000 kids next September,"said David M. Lentini, manager of the Collegedining halls. "If we didn't start now, we wouldnever finish on time."

He said the construction is necessary becausethe kitchen has not been renovated in the past 50years and therefore may be in violation of healthsafety codes.

Eliot House residents say they welcome dininghall improvements, but complain that theconstruction crews are making too much noise,especially during early morning hours.

"I haven't slept past 8 [a.m.] this week," saidJosie L. Karp '94, who lives in Eliot's G-entry."It's not just the noise, we're talking theshaking of walls and floors."

Dining services officials said they sympathizewith house residents, but ask that students bepatient during the renovation period. Anyconstruction work, they say, involves some amountof noise. "Has it been without noise? No. It'sconstruction," Lentini said. "There has to besome."

Director of Dining Services Michael P. Berrysaid that the noisiest phase of construction--thedemolition of the kitchen's interior--is almostover.

"I can guarantee that there will not be anymajor noise during finals," Berry said.

Next fall, after renovations, officials saythey will be able to provide better meals toHarvard students--a promise that they hope willmake the present discomfort more bearable.

"It's small price to pay," Lentini said. "Bythis time next year, the ends will have justifiedthe means.