Report on Malkin Athletic Center Space Long Overdue

The report on athletic and recreational space controlled by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS)—which is expected to lead to a major renovation of the Malkin Athletic Center (MAC)—is now three months overdue, according to the timetable set by the architect in charge of the project.

But despite the acknowledged crunch on student space, Harvard officials say they are not concerned about the delay, nor will they offer any explanation for it.

According to Senior Associate Director of Athletics Patricia W. Henry, space analyses of such a large magnitude simply do not normally run on schedule.

“They really rarely ever match up with the timetable that’s set,” Henry said last month.

HNTB Corp., the Boston firm hired by Harvard to do the analysis, hoped to submit its report to Dean of FAS Jeremy R. Knowles by the end of Oct. last year, according to HNTB Corp. architect Richard Friedson.

After missing the Oct. deadline, Friedson predicted that the report would be published by the end of Nov., saying that the data had already been gathered and all that remained was to draw conclusions and write the report.

Three months later, there is still no sign of a report, which, when it finally arrives, will be only the first in a potentially long process, according to Assistant Athletic Director for Operations Jeremy L. Gibson.

Gibson, who is working closely with HNTB Corp., said the goal of the survey is “to determine our spatial needs” and not to propose solutions.

“[The survey] is phase one of anything that could happen,” he said. “We’re not going to be producing new blueprints.”

Gibson, who called the survey “a very thorough study,” said the report’s lateness does not indicate any problems that have developed, but rather its large scope of inquiry.

Gibson said HNTB Corp. is studying everything from locker rooms across the Charles River to recreational facilities near Harvard Yard.

HNTB Corp. architects did not return phone calls yesterday.

This past fall the lack of space under the jurisdiction of FAS for student group activities as well as for recreational and academic use has become an increasingly salient issue.

At a Dec. 2 Undergraduate Council meeting, Associate Dean of the College David P. Illingworth ’71 suggested that graduate schools near the center of campus relocate to Allston, a move many of them have been resisting and that the College might get some of that space.

“The closer a graduate school is to the John Harvard statue, the more I covet it,” Illingworth said.

Illingworth also stressed that FAS was focusing on the MAC to open up new space.