|Engineering School to Move Across River, SEAS Faculty Criticize ‘Allston Bomb’ | The Harvard Crimson||aryt....@gmail.com||2/6/13 12:59 AM|
|Re: Engineering School to Move Across River, SEAS Faculty Criticize ‘Allston Bomb’ | The Harvard Crimson||Harry Mattison||2/6/13 3:09 AM|
Wow. My first reaction was that this must be an April Fool's joke, but I checked the calendar and it is February 6.
From the Crimson Story: "The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences will relocate “in almost its entirety” to University-owned land in North Allston in as few as five years, University President Drew G. Faust told The Crimson Tuesday. Construction on SEAS facilities in Allston is slated to begin in 2014 and should be completed near the end of 2017 or early 2018."
The reason I find this so surprising is that it shows how Harvard has two different planning processes - a public one and a private one - and that at any time the public plan can get thrown out when Harvard decides to unveil another piece of the secret plan.
For example, last year when Harvard was first proposing what has become the planned 325 unit apartment building at the intersection of Western Ave and North Harvard Street, there were many questions about why the project was being limited to a 2 acre site when Harvard has so much adjacent under-utilized land. Harvard's response was that they couldn't expand the site to the north (towards the athletic fields) because that would require relocating the Ed Portal. That excuse only made sense a few months later when we learned that Harvard's real intention for the Ed Portal site is to build a new basketball arena there.
Just a few months ago, Harvard submitted a new 10-year plan to the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Many neighbors and groups spent considerable time reviewing it and submitting comments. The BRA has been hard at work writing a Scoping Determination with questions and comments for Harvard to answer.
BUT GUESS WHAT? HARVARD'S 10 YEAR PLAN DOESN'T MENTION MOVING THE ENGINEERING SCHOOL TO ALLSTON!
The full list of new construction projects is:
1. Harvard Business School, Kresge Hall Replacement (within the first five years of this IMP)
2. Harvard Business School, Burden Hall Replacement (within the second five years of the planning horizon of this IMP)
3. Harvard Business School, Faculty and Administrative Office Building (within the second five years of the planning horizon of this IMP)
4. Harvard Stadium Addition/Renovation (within the first five years of this IMP)
5. Athletics Department, Basketball Venue and Institutional/Mixed-Use Facility (within the second five years of the planning horizon of this IMP)
6. Mixed Use/Institutional Project (during the second five years of the IMP)
7. Hotel and Conference Center (during the second five years of the IMP)
Harvard also insulted our community in this 10 year plan by proposing to use several acres of the current Charlesview site for a "Harvard permit parking lot". Neighbors have asked if Harvard really would put a huge parking lot on that gateway location. My expectation now is that Harvard never intended to do that, and now will announce that to be the site of the new Engineering School.
Of course I'd rather see an new Engineering School on that site instead of a parking lot. The issue is that for North Allston to thrive there must be some upfront planning and investment, especially in transportation. If we never know what Harvard is really planning to do, then we are just wasting our time talking about whatever story Harvard is telling us today.
By the way, the meeting is at 6pm in Cumnock 102 on the Harvard Business School campus. Cumnock Hall is right behind the Spangler Center. I know that is not the most convenient location for Allston residents, but it would be great to have you join us.
On Wednesday, February 6, 2013 3:59:13 AM UTC-5, aryt....@gmail.com wrote:
|Re: [AB2006] Re: Engineering School to Move Across River, SEAS Faculty Criticize ‘Allston Bomb’ | The Harvard Crimson||aryt....@gmail.com||2/6/13 4:29 AM|
The additionally incredible aspect of this is that such plans would be finalized without any consultation of the faculty who will be affected! Perhaps that's because Harvard doesn't want a repeat of faculty vetoing their relocation, as occurred when it was proposed some years ago that the Law School be moved to Allston.
|Re: [AB2006] Re: Engineering School to Move Across River, SEAS Faculty Criticize ‘Allston Bomb’ | The Harvard Crimson||brent whelan||2/6/13 6:46 AM|
This isn't really new news about Harvard. They began their Allston expansion by creating a dummy real estate purchaser. They pretended to sign on to planning principles for Western Ave. while secretly planning to rebuild the drive-thru McDonalds, in complete contradiction of those principles. As Harry notes, they concealed the basketball arena proposal while making up stories about keeping the ed portal on that site.They sign a cooperation agreement to build Rena Park and then plan to build a truck maintenance facility on that site. They label a key parcel "Harvard permit parking" and then tell us we've made a mistake in thinking that meant Harvard permit parking. Would it be so surprising to find out it meant "School of Engineering and Applied Science"?
Harvard sends a whole squad of liars and quibblers to every meeting. Nothing they say can be taken at face value.The real question for tonight's meeting is whether the BRA, the Mayor, and the City of Boston are willing to accept these shoddy practices, or will they impose penalties on a mega-developer who behaves this way?
|Re: [AB2006] Re: Engineering School to Move Across River, SEAS Faculty Criticize ‘Allston Bomb’ | The Harvard Crimson||Harry Mattison||2/6/13 9:11 AM|
A story from Harvard Magazine provides an important update. The Crimson article mentioned nothing about the Science Complex site on Western Ave which Harvard recently described as becoming a "health and life science center". If that were still the case, then significant new construction in Allston would be needed to relocate the Engineering School which currently has 400,000 square feet of space in Cambridge.
But according to Harvard Magazine, Harvard is not proposing a new Engineering School on the Charlesview site as I assumed from the Crimson article. Harvard is proposing that the Science Complex site will not be a "health and life sciences" center but instead will become the new home of the Engineering School.
Hopefully Harvard and the Engineering faculty will think about much more than how quickly they can make the trip from Western Ave to Cambridge. The Engineering faculty and students don't want to be "lonely in Allston" (as one of their professors described it) so perhaps they will be allies in advocating for a more interesting and enjoyable Western Ave and Barry's Corner. Maybe these professors will have higher aspirations for the Charlesview site than the parking lot that Harvard has proposed (though they will also need a place to park their cars). Maybe they will think that 28 Travis Street (next door to their new home) isn't the best place for a new parking lot and maintenance facility. If they are more integrated into the "real world" of Allston than the isolated setting of the Business School, there is great potential that what can be good for the Engineering School can be good for Allston.
President Drew Faust and Provost Alan Garber—who was docketed to speak “about updated planning for new academic programs in Allston”—unveiled plans to relocate the majority of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) to the uncompleted science facility there.
The plan for the Western Avenue health and life sciences building, unveiled last summer (see details below) “has evolved,” she said, so that complex is now envisioned as “an anchoring presence” for “the substantial majority of SEAS” plus other flexible laboratory space.