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New Planning Group Begins Latest Housing Project

By Douglas E. Heimburger
Staff Reporter

The creation of a new housing planning group is only the latest project to investigate housing at MIT. A summary of previous investigations on housing at MITand the status of living groups follows.

1914: President Cockburn MacLaurin proposes that MIT should provide housing for students on its new campus.

1916: Senior House opens to serve as a residence for undergraduate and graduate students.The dormitory is the first on MIT's new campus.

1924: The east parallel of East Campus opens.

1931: The west parallel ofEast Campus is built.

1938: The Riverbank Court Hotel is acquired and renamed Ashdown House. The dormitory is the first house exclusively for graduate students.

1939: Bexley Hall is purchased to provide housing for married students and staff at MIT.

1946: Westgate andWestgate West dormitories are constructed to provide housing for married students.

1948: Burton-Conner House is purchased.

1949:Baker House opens for undergraduate housing.

1949: The Committee on Educational Survey investigates MIT's role in the post-WorldWar II society. The committee suggests that east campus serve as the center of the academic campus and that west campus should be "devoted to student life." The committee also urges that faculty should live on or near the campus and that some faculty should live in undergraduate dormitories.

1957: The Committee on Student Housing releases the RyerReport, which advocates making each dormitory on campus into a social unit with dining, library, and social facilities. It also advocates the continuation of independent living group support from MIT.

1958: The Committee on the Future of the Graduate School recommends that a "Graduate Student Center" be established to have residential and dining facilities. It also encourages the creation of graduate facilities with the capacity of housing married and single students.

1959:Westgate dormitory is demolished.

1960: Plans are made for a "Graduate Student Center" with 600 beds, a library, lecture halls, outdoor spaces, and dining facilities.The facility, as proposed, would foster communication between members of different departments. The center is never constructed because funding cannot be found.

1960: The Planning Office creates a long-range plan for MIT that encourages making housing "a vital part of education at the Institute." The plan also addresses the need for providing adequate housing for 16,000 students, faculty, and staff by 1975.

1963: The first tower of McCormick Hallopens.

1963: New Westgate dormitories are constructed for married graduate students.

1963: The Committee on Student Environment releases a plan advocating the long-term construction of additional on-campus housing spots for 2,000 undergraduates. It also recommends that two additional "complete residential units" with suites be created on west campus.

1967: Eastgate dormitory for graduate students opens.

1968: The second tower of McCormick Hall opens for undergraduates.

1968: RandomHall is acquired by MIT to provide temporary undergraduate housing.

1970: MacGregor House opens.

1971: The Planning Office surveys faculty, staff, and graduate students to determine their housing needs.

1972:Burton-Conner House is remodeled and renovated.

1973: Tang Hall opens as a new graduate dormitory.

1973: The Committee onStudent Environment advocates the creation of housing units for 45 to 50 undergraduates to provide diversity and flexibility in housing.

1975: New House is constructed.

1978: Dober andAssociates, a consulting firm, examines the quality of graduate student life.It encourages the graduate community to be unified through improved activities and housing facilities.

1981: Next House opens.

1982: MITsurveys graduates and staff to learn housing and transportation patterns.

1982: The Report on Graduate Student Housingencourages an increase in MITgraduate rents in order to finance additional construction.

1983: Green Hall opens as a female graduate dormitory.

1987: The Planning Office identifies 11 off-campus sites and two on-campus sites for future MIThousing projects.

1987: The Graduate Student Council conducts a survey to measure graduate satisfaction with MIT's social experience. Graduate students express concern with the lack of on-campus housing and the high costs of off-campus housing.

1988: Ashdown House is renovated.

1989: The Freshman Housing Committee encourages requiring all freshmen to live in Institute houses and moving rush to the spring of freshman year. The proposals are not implemented out of concern for ILGs and the traditional right to choose housing at MIT.

1990: Edgerton House opens to provide housing for single graduate students.

1994: The Strategic Housing Planning Committee urges the movement of all undergraduates to west campus and graduate students to east campus. Specifically, the committee urges converting Ashdown House into an undergraduate facility and East Campus and SeniorHouse into graduate facilities.Proposals meet with stiff student opposition and are not implemented.

1995-96: Senior House is renovated and remains an undergraduate house.

1996: The Housing Planning Group is created with the goal of formulating a long-term construction plan for housing on campus.The group also will formulate plans for a new graduate dormitory at Sidney Street and Pacific Street.

1998: The housing group plans to release its final long-term plan.

1999: New graduate dormitory at Sidney and Pacific to open.