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Institute Plans to Modernize Many Building 2 Classrooms

By Christopher M. R. Rezek

As part of an effort to modernize the Institute's teaching environment, 10 classrooms in Building 2 will be refitted this summer.

Provost Joel Moses PhD '67, who chairs the Committee for Review of Space Planning, announced the project at the faculty meeting on Feb. 19.

"The faculty were unanimous in their view that we ought to upgrade the classrooms," said Chair of the Faculty Lawrence S. Bacow '72. "Lots of people wanted to see this happen, and lots of people helped."

All MIT classrooms will eventually be evaluated, and nearly three dozen rooms have already been scheduled for renovations, Moses said. Most of the rooms scheduled to be refitted have received little maintenance in recent years beyond periodic repainting and light fixture replacements.

"We intend to continue the renovations in future summers," Moses said.

The planned renovations include providing lecturers with computer hookups for multimedia presentations, new heating and air conditioning, modern chalkboards, new furniture, and new lighting fixtures. Two of the classrooms will provide network access at each desk, making it easier for students to use laptops in class.

Students pleased with plans

Most students welcomed news of the renovations. "Of all the classrooms I've attended classes in, the ones in Building 2 are the oldest and most run-down," said Sarah W. Sohm '99.

"It will be great to have new furniture; it makes classes more comfortable and provides a studying environment comparable to the libraries for students to use," said Thomas D. Rikert '98.

The contrast between Room 26-100 and 10-250 was cited by some students as an example of the difference modernization can make in teaching.

"Idon't know if the changes will make as much of a difference for the smaller classrooms as they would for the large lecture halls, but it will definitely be better than what we have now," said Mani S. Mahjouri '00.

Other students felt the computer connections for laptops were not necessarily that important. "Ionly know one person who uses a laptop in class, and he bought it only a few weeks ago," said Jeffrey C. Gore '99.

Professor introduces plan

Professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Leigh H. Royden, who taught a section of Physics I (8.01) in the fall, provided the impetus for the refitting.

At the September Faculty Policy Committee meeting, Royden noted that many classrooms, especially those used for freshman recitation sections, were in need of significant renovations.

"Other members of the committee agreed and we decided we would try to do something about it," Bacow said.

Since the renovations are scheduled to take place during the summer term, no loss of classroom space during the academic year is expected, Moses said.

The plans signal a renewal of Project 2000, an ongoing renovation initiative started by the late Margaret L. A. MacVicar, former dean for undergraduate education.