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Stratton Reading Room reopens

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By Andrea Lamberti

The 24-hour Reading Room in the Julius A. Stratton '23 Student Center has reopened, a change that brings increased activity to the fifth floor of the Student Center, according to Ted

E. Johnson, program director for the Campus Activities Complex.

The reading room had been closed since 1988, when the renovations of the basement and first three floors of the Student Center forced several offices to move to the fifth floor.

Johnson said news of the reopening, which occurred March 18, has filtered throughout the MIT campus, in part due to advertisements in the Student Center and Infinite Corridor that the reading room is available as a "study place." "[The] word's getting out. . . . We're seeing a lot of people" on the fifth floor of the Student Center, he said.

"Stratton Penthouse"

The reading room will be open 24 hours a day "until we have problems," Johnson said. "We're just worried [that it will turn] into a sleeping place." Johnson said that in the past students slept in the reading room at night. He said he was concerned that it could become a problem again.

"People should have [other] places to sleep," Johnson said. Until 1983, with the arrival of Project Athena on the fifth floor, the entire fifth floor was a library and reading room. It earned the name "Stratton Penthouse" because many students slept there regularly, he said.

If people sleeping in the Reading Room becomes a problem, the Campus Activities Complex may consider measures such as closing the Reading Room at night, Johnson said.

The fifth floor has been slowly partitioned to create office space over the past few years. The renovation of the Student Center's lower floors, a project separate from the fifth floor renovations, forced the Residence and Campus Activities Office, the Campus Activities Complex Office, and the Dining Services and MIT Catering Office to move to the fifth floor. Staff from these offices operated out of the Reading Room while permanent fifth-floor offices were built for them.

The fifth-floor construction allowed two groups which did not previously have third-floor offices gain offices on the fifth floor -- the Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) and the Student Health Resource Center.

The Reading Room remained closed recently to be refinished. The Reading Room has been repainted, recarpeted and furnished with furniture from other parts of the Student Center, Johnson said. International newspapers are provided in the Reading Room, Johnson added.