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W2 to Be Part of McCormick

By Garlen C. Leung
Technology Director

Renovations to Building W2 and construction of an enclosed walkway connecting it with McCormick Hall will add 26 beds to the women's dormitory this fall.

The work will cost about $1.5 million, said Director of Special Services Stephen D. Immerman.

Three triple occupancy rooms, seven doubles, and two singles - one of whichwill be handicap accessible - will be available, in addition to one graduate residence tutor apartment, said Project Coordinator for Physical Plant Thomas Phalen.

Annex residents will have to enter through the front door of McCormick, to preserve the security of the dormitory. "Security is a premium at McCormick," and a second entrance was undesirable, Stewart said.

A new enclosed walkway will connect W2 to the first floor of McCormick, with a handicap accessible lift to conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Stewart said.

The changes will be reevaluated after one year. "We will review to see how [the annex] went, if we make a decision [to make a change], it would be then," Randolph said.

Transforming Building W2 into a McCormick annex was generally accepted by residents. "I think it's great," said Smruti J. Vidwans '95. "[They] made a very wise decision."

"Most agree that more housing for women at MIT is a good thing," Stewart said. "It is an acceptable stop gap measure [against overcrowding], though not a solution to shortage of housing."

Building considered for sororities

The Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs began discussing plans for the annex this spring with a committee from the house, according to McCormick Housemaster Charles Stewart III.

Then residents discussed at individual floor meetings whether Building W2 should become an extension of McCormick or a separate sorority house. People were concerned that the annex would not be an integral part of the dormitory, Stewart said.

There was "overwhelming opposition to dedicating it to a sorority," Stewart said.

"I would much rather see [Building W2] as a part of McCormick or as a separate house for a sorority," said resident Tammy L. Stoops '94. "McCormick isn't a sorority house; it's a dormitory for women. If [the annex is] just a sorority, then they should maintain it separately, and McCormick shouldn't be responsible."

Residents were also concerned that the change would result in an increased load on existing dormitory resources such as laundry facilities, kitchens, and common spaces, Stewart said. But Phalen said that a small laundry room has been added to the basement.

In addition, the point system used to assign rooms for residents within McCormick was revised, Stewart said. Residents did not want the annex to turn into a "freshman ghetto," since there are only a few singles available.

Students living in the annex will receive credit similar to those living in a triple, Stewart said. These students will then have high enough priority to move back into a single room in the main building. This would also encourage people who want doubles to move to the annex, Stewart said.

The change to the room assignment system was good, Viwans said. "Now there is an incentive to go to W2."

Construction on schedule

The renovation to Building W2 is proceeding on schedule, according to Randolph. "The demolition [to the interior] is complete and the wall framing is underway," Phalen said. The renovations are expected to be completed by middle-to-late August. The chaplains, who were formerly housed in Building W2, will move to Building W11 after those renovations are completed in early June, Randolph said. They are temporarily scattered in offices located around the Institute. The Center for Advanced Visual Studies, previously located in Building W11, is being phased out.