Campus & Community

Allston assessment to continue through first development phase

3 min read

Uses expanded to include rehabilitation of vacated Cambridge/Longwood buildings

The need for a stable, dedicated funding source for the University’s expansion into Allston has prompted Harvard’s Corporation to extend the life of the Strategic Infrastructure Fund through the 25-year first phase of development.

The fund, known as the SIF, was created in July 2002 to pay for initial development costs and land acquisition in Allston. The fund is financed by an annual half-percent assessment on the June 30 market value of the endowment.

The SIF, enacted as the University first began to think about the needs of Allston development, initially had a five-year term. Vice President for Finance Ann Berman, in a letter to the corporation, said it was important to extend the term of the fund because the currently planned scope of the Allston development requires a stable and dedicated funding source.

“The funding source should be committed for a sufficiently long time period to allow the University to think broadly and creatively about the development,” Berman wrote.

Though it will provide a critical financial foundation for Allston development, Berman said the SIF will meet just a portion of the project’s needs and that other fundraising will have to continue as development moves forward.

The SIF changes come as the University enters the next phase of Allston planning, with four faculty task forces beginning to examine in greater depth the broad outlines described by President Lawrence H. Summers in his October letter to the Harvard community.

Along with an extension of the fund’s lifetime is an expansion of its potential uses. The major change will allow the use of the fund to support the construction of buildings in Allston. In addition to costs specifically incurred in Allston, the fund’s purpose has been broadened to include costs related to the Allston project. This expansion would permit support for some portion of the cost of rehabilitating and re-using buildings vacated in Longwood and Cambridge by units moving to Allston.

With a long-term extension in the fund’s life, the corporation also approved five-year reviews that would both examine uses of the fund over the previous five years and examine projected expenses in the future.

Fund expenditures will be overseen, as they are now, by the Allston Executive Committee, chaired by the provost and including the vice presidents of finance, administration, and government and community affairs, the head of Allston planning, and the president’s chief of staff. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences Resource Committee will continue to be briefed on expenditures and the active role of the Capital Projects Review Committee, chaired by the provost, will also continue.