Capital Costs

The dimensions of Harvard’s current building boom—readily obvious to sidewalk superintendents along Memorial Drive at Western Avenue (graduate-student housing), across from Mather House (ditto), behind the Science Center (physical sciences and engineering laboratories), north of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (life-sciences laboratories), and elsewhere—are quantified in the Financial Report to the Board of Overseers of Harvard College for the 2004-2005 fiscal year. The exhibit on annual facility expenditures, adapted here, shows capital spending for new construction, building renovations, and acquisitions of structures and land—the latter principally in Allston. The sharp rise since 2000 is made more graphic when five-year averages are calculated: that figure rises from $78.8 million in the first period, 1986-1990, to $494.5 million from 2001-2005. Even adjusting for inflation, the recent expenditures have been at a rate two to three times higher than in any previous year. As a direct result, University debt outstanding has grown from $1.6 billion in 2001 to $2.8 billion last June. For a discussion of the financial implications of this extensive building program for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which is particularly affected, see "Fraught Finances."

Chart by Stephen Anderson

You might also like

Steven Pinker on Apple’s Vision Pro

Professor of psychology on the science and history behind the Vision Pro.

The State of Black America

Harvard African American scholars take stock of a difficult moment. 

Threats Foreign and Domestic

Joseph Nye discusses geopolitics and Harvard’s challenges.

Most popular

An Authentic Act

Basketball coach Kathy Delaney-Smith navigates players’ gender and sexual identity, mental health, and other challenging social issues.

Mass Audubon Ushers in the Spring

Exploring nature through Mass Audubon

Blindspot: A Novel

History professor Jill Lepore is the coauthor, with Jane Kamensky, of the historical novel Blindspot, set in colonial Boston.

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults