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University IT Upgrades to New Office

New IT Building
784 Memorial Dr. is the location of a new Harvard IT building.

UPDATED: October 4, 2017, at 11:28 a.m.

Harvard University Information Technology, familiar to most undergraduates for their service station in the basement of the Science Center, is getting an upgrade as they move to a 61,000 square foot facility at 784 Memorial Dr.

To most students, HUIT is a place to bring broken laptops or complaints about the wireless internet on campus. In addition to addressing day-to-day issues, though, the department is responsible for a host of services including maintaining and upgrading the University’s internet, information security, and software infrastructure.

Currently HUIT employs over 650 employees with offices spread out over 13 buildings. In an email, Acacia Matheson, Senior Communications Officer for HUIT, wrote that the newly leased offices at 784 Memorial Drive will allow for better intra-department collaboration.

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“Co-location allows for more face-to-face interaction, helps to accelerate communication, and creates more opportunities for teams to collaborate—ultimately making it easier to get things done in HUIT and be more responsive to community needs,” Matheson wrote.

HUIT’s new accommodations sit on the Charles River roughly halfway between Harvard and MIT. Although the building’s exterior, recognizable for its signature clock face, has changed little since its construction in 1937, the interior of the former chemical plant has been completely renovated. The building, which also served as the headquarters for Polaroid, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Half of HUIT’s staff will be moving to the historic building. Walk-in support centers, including the Science Center office, will remain in their current locations so that students and faculty can easily access support staff.

“Maintaining a convenient presence for the students, faculty, and staff we serve, is top of mind,” Matheson wrote. “HUIT is in the process of determining what teams will benefit the most from being co-located, and expects to make a final decision by the end of fall about which teams will move to 784 Memorial Drive.”

Matheson said HUIT hopes that the move down the river doesn’t distance them from the Harvard community but rather makes their offices more accessible to students and faculty.

“HUIT expects that 784 Memorial Drive will be a destination not only for the IT organization, but for the broader Harvard community as well,” Matheson said. “The building has common spaces that will allow HUIT to host events such as hackathons, guest lectures, and other IT-related programming.”

—Staff writer Madeleine R. Nakada can be reached at madeleine.nakada@thecrimson.com.

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