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Winthrop Renewal Plans Include Addition to Gore Hall

Renewal plans for Winthrop House, which is slated for renovation in 2016-2017, include a five-story addition to Gore Hall on Mill Street.
Renewal plans for Winthrop House, which is slated for renovation in 2016-2017, include a five-story addition to Gore Hall on Mill Street. By Courtesy of Beyer Blinder Belle
By Quynh-Nhu Le, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: February 11, 2015, at 11:53 p.m.

Harvard will construct a five-story addition to Gore Hall, one of two buildings that currently comprise Winthrop House, when the residence is renovated in 2016-2017 as part of Harvard's more than $1 billion House renewal project, according to plans released Wednesday.

According to Faculty of Arts and Sciences Assistant Dean for Physical Resources Merle Bicknell, current space limitations in Winthrop prompted plans for the addition. Originally constructed not as an upperclassman House but as two freshman dormitories for 291 students, Winthrop currently houses 355 undergraduates, according to Bicknell. An additional 56 Winthrop students currently live in “overflow” housing in DeWolfe.

The new addition, which will be named “Winthrop East,” would eliminate the need for overflow housing for Winthrop, Bicknell said. A garage used by Winthrop’s House masters and other Harvard affiliates currently sits on the corner of Mill and Plympton Streets, where Winthrop East will ultimately be constructed.

In addition to more student housing, Harvard also plans to construct a first floor lobby in Winthrop East, although ideas and other amenities will be discussed in student feedback sessions. Other major changes to the House, according to Bicknell, include an expanded dining hall and the relocation of the Winthrop masters' residence to a stand-alone house connected to Winthrop East by a terrace.

Winthrop’s Gore and Standish Halls will remain separated because connecting them was ultimately unfeasible due to utility and historical features, Bicknell said.

Administrators are also currently considering including study nooks, more social spaces, and horizontal connections between the House’s vertical entryways, which are all features of the three previous or ongoing House renewal projects—Quincy House’s Stone Hall, Leverett House’s McKinlock Hall, and Dunster House, which is currently under renovation and slated to re-open to students next fall.

Regardless of the details of the final plan, Bicknell said the renovated House will include “a lot” of additional space for House programming because of the new addition, and at least two-thirds of student housing will be suite-style. The renewed buildings in Quincy and Leverett include a mix of suites and single and double bedrooms off hallways.

Administrators held one student feedback session on the plans on Tuesday evening and have more planned on Feb. 17 and Feb. 24. During the planned one-year break in House renewal construction in 2015-2016 leading up to Winthrop’s renovation, administrators will further evaluate the renewal projects in Quincy, Leverett, and Dunster, and the results may inform plans for Winthrop, Bicknell said.

While construction on Winthrop will not officially start until summer 2016, Harvard will start replacing Winthrop windows and chimneys, and making other minor alterations starting this June, Bicknell said.

While their House is under construction, Dunster students currently live in swing spaces in Harvard Square, including the building near Harvard Yard that once housed the Inn at Harvard. Bicknell said administrators will decide in the coming weeks how they will utilize those swing spaces during the construction break next academic year.

Administrators will also soon decide which House to renew after Winthrop, though primary candidates remain the River Houses Kirkland, Eliot, and Lowell, she said.

FAS spokesperson Anna Cowenhoven sat in on The Crimson’s interview with Bicknell.

—Staff writer Quynh-Nhu Le can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @qnhule.

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