Smith and Hammonds Update College Community on House Renewal and the Future of Summer Storage
Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith and Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds today updated the undergraduate community on the impact of House renewal on summer storage for future generations of students. Although summer storage will not change for the overwhelming majority of current College students, the renewal of Harvard’s House system will result in improvements that will benefit undergraduates for decades to come.
Last year, the deans announced that a section of Quincy House would serve as a test project to explore design and construction options for future systemwide renewal of the Houses. As they indicated at the time, Old Quincy is scheduled to be taken offline for 15 months (one academic year as well as the summer before and after), beginning immediately after Commencement in June 2012. During that time, Old Quincy will be physically renewed and new social and programmatic spaces will be created to better support 21st-century methods of teaching and learning in a multigenerational learning community. More details about the project and its goals, including a video of the new design, can be found on the House renewal website.
During the 15 months of construction, approximately 180 students will live in “swing space” located in nearby Harvard-owned apartments in Hampden Hall at 8 Plympton Street, Fairfax Hall at 1306 Massachusetts Avenue and Ridgely Hall at 65 Mt. Auburn Street. These students will continue to eat meals in the Quincy Dining Hall and will remain active participants in the Quincy House community.
More recently, the deans announced that the neo-Georgian section of Leverett House – Leverett McKinlock, or “Old Lev” – is being considered for the next House renewal test project. It would follow the Old Quincy test project.
The upcoming renewal of Old Quincy – and the potential construction on Leverett McKinlock – also has required the reconsideration of how the newly redesigned and reprogrammed spaces will be used during the term and the summers. In Old Quincy, for instance, space previously used for summer storage will not be available during construction period and, after construction, will be used instead for social and other programmatic purposes – such as music practice rooms, a smart classroom and terrace-level social area. As a result, it will not be available for storage space in the summers.
When House renewal formally launches and as different Houses undergo renewal, the same will hold true throughout the residential system. Spaces currently used for storage will become social and programmatic spaces. This positive change will enhance the learning and community aspects of the newly renewed Houses.
To reduce the need for summer storage and as part of the renewal process, the College will purchase and put in place Common Room furniture in every House to replace the furniture purchased and stored each summer by students for those shared spaces. Common Room furniture currently makes up the bulk of the items stored each summer. By furnishing the Common Rooms, the College will greatly reduce the number of items that need to be stored by students, and will also eliminate the need for future students to purchase furniture for the Common Rooms.
Although the College will provide common furniture in every renewed House, students may still wish to store items during the summers. For those students, a discount rate negotiated with a local storage vendor will be available. The vendor will pick up storage items at the end of the spring term and return them at the beginning of the fall semester.
This concept will first be tested at Quincy House, which will be outfitted with the new, College-purchased Common Room furniture for the fall of 2012, both in New Quincy and in the swing space. The new furniture will be available in Old Quincy when it reopens in the fall of 2013. Quincy House residents have already been informed that the College will pay for a limited amount of off-site storage this and next summer.
Renewing Harvard’s Houses is necessary to ensure that Harvard preserves the traditions bequeathed by President Lowell when he created the House system, while making those traditions new and vibrant for future generations of College students.