Harvard President Drew Faust said this morning that the university is in the midst of re-assessing options for its long-planned expansion into Allston, including the possibility of "re-imagining" the $1 billion science complex at the heart of the project as the university grapples with its new financial realities.
Construction on the building, which would house scientists working on stem cell research across Harvard's various schools, has not stopped, but during an impromptu meeting with reporters following a Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Faust said that "we're trying to assess options which would be affordable."
|Harvard University President Drew Faust|
Even though it has slowed its expansion plans, Harvard continues to be committed to the Allston community, Faust told the crowd of business and higher education executives gathered in a ballroom at the Marriott Copley Place hotel. She said the university is working with residents to discuss interim uses for the vacant Harvard-owned buildings and lots in the once industrial neighborhood, where Harvard owns more than 350 acres.
Construction workers are still finishing the foundation of the the 589,000-square-foot science complex science complex, work that is expected to continue until the end of the year.
"The Allston opportunity is an extraordinary treasure of Harvard and is the future of Harvard," Faust said. "The changed economic circumstances have had an impact on the pace with which we can move forward. ... Our commitment to Allston has not changed. But the particular route and speed with which we undertake that has changed."
Stem cell researchers from Harvard's Medical School, School of Engineering, and Faculty of Arts and Sciences who were scheduled to move into the science complex by the original 2011 opening have been relocated to a renovated laboratory space on Harvard's Cambridge campus, Faust said. They will remain there "for some period of years until we can imagine investing more" in new science construction, she said.
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