The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) will take ownership of the Hasty Pudding building according to an agreement negotiated with the graduate of the Institute of 1770, which owns the building.
John L. Dotson III '82, acting president of the graduate board, said yesterday that the group reached an agreement with FAS on Tuesday and signed a letter of intent that will transfer ownership of the building to Harvard.
FAS will then foot the bill for massive renovations to the dilapidated building--by some accounts, likely a $5 million undertaking.
David P. Illingworth '71, associate dean of the College, said yesterday the building will be renovated and the theater refurbished completely for undergraduate use.
"The theater will continue to be a theater, we're going to improve it. The rest of the building, we are less certain about, maybe rehearsal space, social space, or [student] offices," he said. "It's definitely going to be for students. It's not going to be teaching space."
He said the acquisition of the Pudding building is "the most major new undergraduate space in years. I am so, so happy."
In 1986, the institute--an umbrella group that governs Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the Hasty Pudding social club, the Pitches and the Krokodiloes--sold the land the Pudding building sits on to the University, but retained ownership of the building. As a result, the graduate board was paying Harvard for use of the land.
But the institute has long been in arrears to Harvard, does not have the funds to keep up the aging Pudding building and cannot pay the back rent owed to Harvard.
Dotson said the institute has over $100,000 in the bank, but that the sum was not enough to pay back Harvard.
The building was assessed at a value of $1,449,100 in 1999, but FAS will not pay the institute for the building aside from paying the small legal fees incurred in the building's transfer, according to Dotson.
Harvard will forgive the institute's debt to the University as part of the agreement.
With the institute strapped for cash and deep in debt to Harvard, the University had some leverage--not to mention an interest--in acquiring the Pudding building, which houses a theater and is situated at the very heart of campus.
Administrators have long been concerned about losing undergraduate access to Agassiz Theatre in Radcliffe Yard, as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study has expressed interest in using the space for its own events, and FAS loses official access to the space--and its basement set shop--in 2004.
And though administrators said yesterday the acquisition of the Pudding building is certainly a gain for a space-crunched campus, they hope to retain access to Agassiz as well.
"One important thing Agassiz has
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