Quincy’s renovation was financed largely through a $20,000 grant from the College. Last November, Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 pledged the grants to each House for the purposes of upgrading dilapidated House gyms. Most Houses are still planning how to spend the money; Quincy was able to act quickly because its plans were already underway when the grants were announced.
Other House Masters should look to the leadership, enthusiasm and initiative of Quincy House Co-Masters Robert P. Kirshner ’70 and Jayne Loader, who ought to be commended for taking swift action after learning about the state of the gym a year ago. They pledged House money for new equipment to supplement the College’s grant, and Loader even lent her own personal weight set for the time being until other equipment arrives.
Beyond enthusiastically supporting the project, other House Masters should also join forces to complete this work. University President Lawrence H. Summers encouraged ordering equipment together in order to take advantage of lower shipping costs, and this plan is sensible and will ultimately be to students’ benefit.
But coordinated buying requires far more planning to work efficiently. Currently, the process seems held up in a muddled period of waiting for the least organized House to get its act together, and there is no single individual overseeing the massive project.
The problem is that some Houses are nowhere near ready to decide what to buy—Lowell House, for instance, has never had a gym before and its Masters have shown reluctance to plan for one. Meanwhile, Leverett House is preoccupied with significant structural renovations for its gym, which will include knocking down walls. The result is that all Houses—even those which might be ready to install new equipment—must wait for the so-called weakest link. An administrator overseeing the progress campus-wide could be beneficial in identifying where the slowdowns are occurring—perhaps leading to sooner purchasing decisions and quicker installation where possible.
Hopefully this time next semester—if not sooner—more Houses will be enjoying state of the art facilities like Quincy’s. Until then, perhaps Quincy House residents—with their generosity—will extend their lack of inter-House restrictions to their gym as well.