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Deans Vet Allston Plan

Proposal would build undergraduate housing and science and relocate professional schools

By Elisabeth S. Theodore, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard’s deans and president met this summer to hear a tentative plan for a new University campus in Allston, centered around the School of Public Health, Graduate School of Education, science facilities and new undergraduate housing.

The caveats are many—the plan is far from approval and it leaves details of both the prospective science campus and undergraduate dormitories to be determined.

But sources at the July 15 meeting described a proposal that is the most concrete to date and was positively received by a roomful of the University’s most powerful administrators.

University President Lawrence H. Summers and the deans of Harvard’s schools heard the plan at their annual retreat at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Under the plan, the law school—long considered a prime candidate for a move across the river—is off the hook. This represents a victory for its faculty, which has been dead-set against leaving Cambridge for several years.

Instead, housing and science would anchor the campus. Possibilities for undergraduate housing in Allston are said to include a 13th house or the relocation of the Radcliffe Quad houses.

The plan for science could entail moving departments of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and Harvard Medical School, building new interdisciplinary centers, or some combination of the two.

The School of Public Health and the Graduate School of Education, both hungry for space, would relocate their entire campuses.

Harvard officials would neither confirm nor deny details of the meeting.

“There have been a number of very promising ideas regarding Allston that have been put forward in the last year,” University spokesperson Alan J. Stone said in an interview. “No decisions have been made. There will be a great deal of consultation in the fall as we move toward the next stage in the planning process.”

Over the last decade, the University has bought hundreds of acres of industrial and commerical land across the Charles River and contiguous with Harvard Business School.

Summers has pledged that planning and development of the new campus will be one of his top priorities as president.

—Staff writer Elisabeth S. Theodore can be reached at

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