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With University Hall Closed, Deans Adjust

By Alan E. Wirzbicki, Crimson Staff Writer

With the seat of power at Harvard undergoing costly reupholstering, the deans and administrators who normally occupy University Hall have moved into temporary quarters, scattered from their prime location in the heart of Harvard Yard to the less desirable corners of the campus.

For the next six months Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 and his staff will work out of the Engineering Sciences Lab on Oxford Street, while Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles and the rest of University Hall staff have relocated to 1033 Mass. Ave., half way between the Yard and Central Square.

The work on University Hall--the first major renovation to the administration building since 1896--is scheduled to finish by the start of the Spring 2001 term.

Both Lewis and Knowles say the move has caused little trouble.

"So much business gets done electronically that the inconvenience is not great," Lewis wrote in an e-mail message.

But Lewis said that despite the central air conditioning in the Engineering Science Lab, the Oxford St. offices were not his first choice.

"I had really hoped that we would be put in Hilles as a gesture of solidarity with the Quad, but that was infeasible," he said, pointing out that the move puts the College administration closer to the Quad--only four blocks away--than to the River Houses.

Knowles said the move had gone smoothly.

"The movers were extraordinarily efficient," Knowles said. "We left [University Hall] at 5 p.m. on a Thursday, and by 8 a.m. on the following Monday we walked into offices containing our accustomed furniture, with books on shelves, computers humming and telephones working."

Lewis concurred. "My bison skull is on the wall just like in UHall," he said.

Knowles predicted that while it was a minor inconvenience, the extra walk to the relocated offices will "improve fitness and health at Harvard."

Lewis, who normally occupies a spacious ground-floor office in the corner of University Hall, says the move to Oxford Street had its benefits.

"Frankly it's better to get up and walk around a bit during the day," Lewis said. "I spend too much time sitting in meetings."

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