The Harvard Crimson :: News :: College Plans $1 Billion House Renovations
Harvard's 20 year plan for Allston includes four buildings totalling 800,000 square feet which would be home to 1/4 of Harvard's undergraduates. These buildings are planned to be along the Charles River, just north of the football stadium.
A possible change to these plans seems possible now that Harvard has formed a 50-person committee that will issue recommendations about the future of the House system in December. Harvard also plans to begin $1B of renovations to the existing undergraduate dorms in a project that will continue beyond 2020.
Harvard may build a new dorm to house students while the existing dorms are renovated. Given the lack of space in Cambridge it could make sense that this "swing space" would be in Allston. If this new dorm is a prerequisite that needs to be complete before Cambridge renovations can start, it would make sense if Harvard is anxious to move that project through Boston's permitting process. This scenario sounds familiar - it basically identical to last year's story about Harvard's dire need to build the Art Warehouse in Allston to allow renovations to Harvard's museums in Harvard Square. The warehouse wasn't built and somehow Harvard figured out how to renovate its Cambridge museums anyway.