Swartz Hall Renovation

This web page will be regularly updated with information concerning the renewal of Swartz Hall (formerly Andover Hall). Check back often for the latest project news, progress, and impacts from Ralph DeFlorio, HDS’s director of operations.

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Swartz Hall Updates

September 2, 2020

We are starting off the fall semester eager to see everyone safely back on campus as we continue to renew Swartz Hall.

One of the most noticeable and significant portions of the project is the new space, which will contain the café and commons area, flexible classroom and event space, and meeting areas. This addition has really come together over the last few months. To give you some sense of progress, I wanted to highlight two exterior pictures for you. Below is a picture from January when the building foundation walls were being set for the addition...

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May 22, 2020

We will soon resume work on the Swartz Hall renewal and I wanted to offer an update on how we will proceed to ensure the health of all those involved in the project.

In compliance with recent guidelines issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Cambridge, construction activity at Swartz Hall on the Harvard Divinity School campus will re-start in phases beginning May 26.

To ensure work will be undertaken in the safest possible conditions, enhanced health and safety protocols will be implemented. This includes hand washing, physical...

Read more about May 22, 2020

April 3, 2020

It's April, and things have changed quite a bit since I last wrote. Given the changes that have taken place not just here, but across the world, I wanted to offer an update on the renewal effort.

The City of Cambridge recently instituted a temporary emergency construction moratorium. The health and safety of our entire community, including construction workers on our project, remains our top priority. We continue to monitor the ongoing public health crisis and together with our construction team, we continue to assess how the work stoppage order will affect the Swartz Hall...

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March 6, 2020

This week, March 1-7, is National Women in Construction Week. We join our partner on the Swartz Hall renewal, Shawmut Design and Construction, in celebrating this week, and I wanted to use this space to highlight some of the women working hard to renew Swartz Hall.

Women have been taking part in all aspects of the renewal project at the Swartz Hall construction site. They have been part of the demolition crew that readied the site for its transformation into a modern...

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February 21, 2020

Here we are nearing the end of February and, while the days can be quite cold, the work on the Swartz Hall renewal project is heating up.

About 100 laborers are busy performing work on the site, and that number will hold steady for the next few weeks. These workers include tradespeople like plumbers, electricians, mill workers, and many others. We’re grateful for the work they are putting in to help transform Swartz Hall into a modern, efficient, and accessible teaching, learning, and communal space for our School community.

... Read more about February 21, 2020

January 24, 2020

Welcome to 2020, which will no doubt be a momentous year for our School.

I hope everyone had a nice, restful winter recess. Typically the campus is pretty quiet while many of our students and faculty are away until the semester begins (this year on January 27). However, there was no shortage of activity taking place over this recent break.

Shawmut Construction and its crews were busy inside and outside Swartz Hall, transforming the century-old building into an energy-efficient, welcoming, and...

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November 15, 2019

In its more than 100-year history, Swartz Hall had never gone through a major renovation. While that meant its historic features and unique design (it is the only instance of Collegiate Gothic architecture at Harvard) were preserved, it also meant that its current functionality did not meet future needs.

One of the School’s main questions during planning for the current renewal was how do we maintain the former while changing the latter. In this post I want to offer some insight into how we are preserving the historical character of...

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October 18, 2019

The renewal of a century-old building encompasses some big changes. There’s the overhaul of the building’s electrical, plumbing, and climate control systems, the remodeling of entire floors, and, for our project, the buildout of a 3,200 square-foot addition.

But it’s the smaller items that can have just as big of an impact.

This week I wanted to highlight for you how we are thinking about Swartz Hall’s effect on the health of the people who will be working, learning, and visiting it.

... Read more about October 18, 2019

September 27, 2019

Although construction work on Swartz Hall has been underway since the end of May, an intimate, celebratory groundbreaking ceremony was held earlier this month to commemorate the start of the building’s renewal.

I wanted to share some pictures of this month’s groundbreaking with you and let everyone know that a community-wide celebration is being planned for when the project is finished and Swartz Hall is ready to open.

Speaking during the ceremony were Dean David Hempton, donor Susan Shallcross Swartz, Harvard President Larry Bacow, project architect Philip Chen,...

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September 13, 2019

Now that the academic year is underway there’s a lot of activity on campus—and I’m not just talking about the construction for the Swartz Hall renewal.

Weekly events such as Community Tea and Noon Service kicked off last week, and the School’s first major event of the academic year—Convocation—was an inspiring celebration of the life and work of Toni Morrison.

Beginning this semester, some of our regular and recurring events...

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August 23, 2019

Orientation takes place next week and that also means the fall semester is about to begin. With many physical changes happening on our campus over the summer, I wanted to share with you in this post several floor plans that can be helpful to illustrate how Divinity Hall and our new, temporary space at 60 Oxford Street have been reconfigured. The directory and all floor plans can be found on the HDS intranet.

The space at 60 Oxford Street will be...

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August 9, 2019

We’re in the thick of summer and we’re in the thick of demolition as well.

Inside and around Swartz Hall, crews continue to be busy with demolition and abatement work. Demolition work is not typically like what’s depicted on reality home-improvement shows. Safe and efficient demolition requires careful planning, lots of coordination, and oftentimes methodical work.

A lot of progress has been made on the ground floor of Swartz Hall. Crews were in there this week knocking down steel framing and carefully...

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July 26, 2019

Here we are about to close out July and head into August. It’s hard to believe that new and returning students will be back on campus in just about four weeks.

While there has been much work and activity taking place at Swartz Hall, there has also been significant effort to ready our temporary office and classroom space at 60 Oxford Street ahead of the fall semester. Classrooms are progressing, as you can see from the pictures I’ve included below. The focus the last couple of weeks has been installing audio/visual equipment. There are...

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July 12, 2019

There’s been quite a lot of activity taking place this week around Swartz Hall. You may have noticed that the cloister link is now nearly gone. Demolition began this week with crews using an excavator to remove the structure so work preparing that area for the new addition can begin. Demolition took several days as crews worked carefully to remove the cloister link, which was attached to the original building.

The work was impressive, and I’ve included several pictures below so you can get a sense of how it took place. You can see workers using water and a sprayer to help with...

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June 28, 2019

Let’s start off this entry with some amazing statistics about the Swartz Hall renewal project: 715 boxes and 18,000 books.

This is how many books faculty members and Andover-Harvard Theological Library donated to Better World Books. The social enterprise organization collects and sells books online, and funds literacy initiatives worldwide. Since its founding in 2003, it has diverted more than 250,000 tons of books from landfills....

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June 21, 2019

Prep work continues as we prepare for the Swartz Hall renewal. Crews are busy installing safety measures in and around the building, including lighting, signage, and fire alarms. Landscape work is also underway. While it may not have been as visible as the work happening on site now, preparation for this renewal has actually been taking place for some time.

I’m excited about the changes to come: the new multifaith space, modernized classrooms, enhanced collaborative areas, better accessibility, and improved carbon footprint. But I also realize that these incredible...

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June 14, 2019

I’d like to start this update by thanking everyone who was involved with the move out of Swartz Hall and the relocation of offices. It was no small task. Everyone is now settling into their new offices. Thanks especially to those who organized the recent 60 Oxford Street breakfast and Divinity Hall lunch events as everyone gets to know their new buildings.

Over the past couple weeks, crews have been hard at work assembling and prepping on site. This update includes details of work that is expected to be conducted in and around Swartz Hall over the next two weeks. Please note...

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June 7, 2019

After years of imagining, discussing, designing, and planning, the renewal of historic, century-old Swartz Hall took a big step forward this week. The relocation of departments and offices are a major milestone for the project as it will allow for the renewal to take place as efficiently as possible.

Months of packing, purging, and preparation for the end-of-semester move—and the move itself—have taken a considerable amount of work. But now, HDS is significantly closer to beginning the renewal of its signature building, creating a true campus center and a space that will...

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May 1, 2019

New Name for Andover Hall

As Harvard Divinity School prepares for the most significant renewal of the HDS campus in a century, Dean David N. Hempton announced on May 1 that Andover Hall will be renamed Swartz Hall in honor of Susan Shallcross Swartz, her husband, James R. Swartz, and their family.

“For a decade now, Susan and Jim have been our partners in strengthening every aspect of Harvard Divinity School,” said Hempton. “From day one, their priority has been focused on the student experience, whether funding scholarships for students with need, professorships...

Read more about May 1, 2019