The Adams House renovation is facing another delay after the ongoing coronavirus pandemic caused an indefinite suspension of construction, faculty dean Sean Palfrey ’67 wrote in an email Friday to The Crimson.
Due to Cambridge’s moratorium on building projects across the city, renovation of Adams’s Apthorp House and Claverly Hall – part of the first phase of the house’s multi-year renovation project – will be largely on hold. Harvard got an exemption from the city to continue work on Claverly’s roof to prevent water leaks.
The Adams House renovation is the latest project in the University’s billion-dollar homes renewal initiative. The house originally planned the restoration project to take four years and span three distinct phases, with completion slated for fall 2023.
Now that timeline could be in jeopardy.
The Adams House renovation delay follows the postponement of a host of university events and operations, including the opening of the Allston campus, hiring processes and faculty searches.
Before the pandemic, Adams House had already faced a six-month delay in refurbishing Apthorp House – the 260-year-old faculty dean’s residence – after contractors discovered faults in the heating system and building foundations. Now, that delay could last even longer.
The current building halt follows a March 18 announcement by Cambridge City Council indefinitely banning all building projects in the city, specifying March 26 as the deadline for compliance.
College spokeswoman Rachael Dane wrote in an email that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences is currently reviewing how the construction halt will affect the renewal schedule, but declined to elaborate.
“FAS is assessing the impacts of the construction moratorium on the overall renewal of Adams House and developing contingency plans based on when construction can restart,” she wrote.
The city’s moratorium, however, provided exemptions for certain projects. The construction company overseeing the Adams House renewal, Lee Kennedy Company, requested special dispensation to continue work on the roof of Claverly Hall.
In a March 20 letter to the city, the company’s general superintendent, Bill Traill, discussed possible water damage from the incomplete roof and asked for permission to allow six to eight subcontractor employees. dealing with roofing project to continue working.
“There are public health and safety risks as we do not have a permanent roof and numerous interior and mechanical finishing systems are currently in place,” he wrote. “Without the permanent roof installed, this building is at risk of water intrusion which could create health issues due to mold buildup on finished surfaces, which can pose a threat to health and worker safety and result in continuous emergency repairs throughout the shutdown period.”
Cambridge’s Department of Inspection Services agreed to the request and asked that all roof work be completed by March 26. But in later emails to the city, Traill wrote that the rainy weather would likely delay the completion of the roofing work.
Dane did not respond to an email Monday asking whether that work was complete.