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Harvard will be home to more construction workers than students this summer as the University scrambles to renovate a number of buildings before the beginning of the fall term.
The largest project, by far, will be continuing progress on the $52 million renovations to Widener Library. That project, which began in earnest this spring, will involve moving the library's three-plus million volumes off their shelves in an elaborate cycle that will, it is hoped, keep much of the library and its collection accessible during the move.
The project's main goal, according to Beth S. Brainard, communications and public information director for the Harvard College Library, is to ensure a longer shelf life and increased security for the library's collections.
Workers will install a central heating and cooling system, a fire suppression system and enhanced security features. In addition, two smaller reading rooms will be constructed to allow space for the use of non-circulating materials.
A massive crane will become a fixture behind the library as these renovations go on over the summer. The crane will be assembled on-site in the weeks following Commencement.
Work has also already begun on renovations to Harvard Hall. In an effort to improve accessibility to persons with disabilities, the building is slated to receive an elevator.
Holden Chapel behind Stoughton and Hollis Halls is set for similarly substantial renovations, part of an effort spearheaded by outgoing Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III to increase rehearsal space for the College's choral groups.
While Maxwell Dworkin, the new home for the computer sciences at Harvard, will be finished and Faculty and staff moved in by mid-August, construction will continue on the Naito Chemistry lab.
As a harbinger of changes to come, the Eliot and Kirkland House dining hall serving areas will be renovated. In addition, the main kitchen that serves Eliot, Kirkland, Winthrop, Lowell and Leverett will be upgraded with new technology, according to director of Harvard Dining Services Ted A. Mayer.
The central kitchen makeover will make it possible to offer students fresher food in the future, as the central kitchen will now embrace "shock chilling," a technique which freezes food faster, before moisture can escape and results in a fresher taste when cooked, Mayer said.
While aesthetic changes will be limited to the dining halls of Eliot and Kirkland Houses, students in the River Houses will benefit from the upgraded central kitchen. Streamlining in the cooking process will prevent each of the individual houses from performing overlapping work--like cooking the same soup in each House, Mayer said.
Eliot and Kirkland follow Adams House in making dining hall upgrades, but it is unclear at this point when other houses will follow suit.
All of Leverett and Adams Houses will be left empty this summer to allow them to receive touch-ups caused by deferred maintenance.
"We're going to be doing a lot of [heating, ventilation and air conditioning] work in the Towers," said Leverett superintendent Matt Stec. In addition, the House will receive new lighting in all suites, a new paint job in many parts of the House and brighter lighting in the hallways--which Leverett House Master Howard Georgi '68 called "rather dreary."
Officials at Adams House could not be reached for comment, but Stec said the House's summer renovations generally follow the same pattern.
House renovation typically follows a four-year cycle between renovations, Power said.
Apthorp House, the home of the Adams House masters, will also be undergoing interior and exterior renovations this summer.
Renovations have also already begun at the Harvard Law School, where an exterior rehabilitation is being performed on the historic Austin Hall.
The building, which houses the Ames courtroom, was built in 1883 and until 1907 was the only building at HLS.
Byerly Hall, the home of the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, is already cloaked in scaffolding as part of a restoration and renovation project to preserve the building's historical character. The building has been designated a historic building by the Cambridge Historical Commission.
According to Scott Sandberg, a facilities assistant at Radcliffe, work on Byerly Hall this summer will include refurbishing the roof, working on the chimney and doing interior painting.
Those restorations are likely to take the entire summer.
Of course, the College will not be responsible for all the construction activity in Harvard Square.
Construction will continue on Winthrop Square and the renovations to Grendel's Den. Additionally, trendy retail giant Abercrombie & Fitch will open in the Read Block building that houses the Cambridge Savings Bank.
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