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Tunnel to E17 Only Hitch in New Biology Building

By Eric Richard
Associate News Editor

Plans to build underground passageways between Building 68, the new biology building under construction on Ames Street, and nearby Buildings 66 and E17 have been stalled by the city of Cambridge, which has refused to grant MIT permission to tunnel underneath Ames Street.

But aside from this setback, construction is proceeding according to schedule and the project may come in under budget, according to Francis A. Lawton, special assistant to Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56.

MIT planners are not abandoning the idea of an underground tunnel connection to Building E17, which houses the Center for Cancer Research, even if it means further construction sometime after Building 68 is completed.

"Eventually, there is no question in my mind that MIT would like to put that tunnel in," said Lawton. "We constructed the basement with a knockout panel so that we can make a connection in the future."

"Several options are being explored" for the passageway to E17, said Provost Mark S. Wrighton. The underground connection between the basements of the new building and Building 66 is already complete.

"I am very pleased with the project so far," said Lawton. "It has been a very satisfying project."

Construction on schedule, budget

Construction of the building, which will have six stories above ground and two below, is expected to meet the original completion date of December 1993, and may cost less than the projected $70 million.

"We are just about where we expected to be," said Lawton. "We had said December 1993. We have been extremely lucky. . . Weather has not affected us much at all. Even the winter has been fairly generous in giving us time to work."

"I am most happy to say that at this moment, I intend to be under budget," Lawton continued.

Currently the work on the building is focused on pouring the concrete for the floors. "We have half of the roof slab poured and all of the six floor slabs have been poured," said Lawton. "We should complete the pouring probably the first or second week of December."