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Summer Renovations Close Parts of Campus


Ahmed Ait-Ghezala
Construction workers prepare materials for installation in Building 16, currently under renovation. The building is currently scheduled to reopen in March.

By Douglas E. Heimburger
Associate News Editor

The summer has traditionally been a time of renovations on campus and this summer has proved particularly chaotic. Several buildings are being gutted, making travel through the Institute especially difficult.

Construction workers closed the lobby to Building 16 last week, shutting off one of the key routes to Building 26 and the buildings along Vassar Street. The lobby will remain closed until March, when Building 16 is scheduled to reopen.

"There's just a lot of work" to be done in that area, necessitating its closure, said Beacon Construction Project Manager Nancy Joyce. "There's an elevator that's going in there" to connect Lobby 16 and Lobby 8 and to allow for handicapped access, among other projects taking place in the area.

In September, a new underground tunnel will open to connect Building 8 to Building 26, Joyce said. It will serve as the primary access route until the lobby reopens. "I think it'll be okay; it'll just be awkward"for those usually accustomed to walking through the other floors of Building 16, she said.

Construction is currently progressing on schedule in the building, Joyce said. Contractors have installed drywall on many of the upper floors, while the lower floors are being used to sort and store parts being used in the upper floors. New exterior walls are currently being installed on the eighth floor.

The renovated Building 16 will architecturally similar to Building 56, Joyce said. "We're trying to make the buildings seamless"since many offices are housed in both buildings.

The lobby of the building will feature an expanded vending machine area, and possibly a few Athena QuickStations, Joyce said.

When complete, the new building will house about half of the occupants of Building 20, including the Language Lab, the Concourse andIntegrated Studies Program special freshman programs, and members of the toxicology, chemistry, and chemical engineering departments. "We have lots more folks to go from [Building] 20," which is scheduled to be demolished in the summer of 1998,Joyce said.

Fishbowl Becomes Service Center

Over the last few months, the first floor of Building 11 has been transformed from a center of computing into a center of student services.

Construction workers are currently in the process of putting the finishing touches on the new Student Services Center, which is scheduled to open on August 18.

Computers and other equipment will soon be moved into the center as staff begin their training in early August, said Hillary H. DeBaun, a team leader in the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education, who heads up the project.

Included in the project, which converted most of the first floor of Building 11 into the new Center, is a revised and expanded Adaptive Technologies for Information and Computing Lab in 3-123, and a Athena QuickStation cluster featuring several Sun workstations and a printer.

A large entryway will hold the cards announcing job offers on campus which are currently located by the Financial Aid office, DeBaun said.

The new center will add a satellite MITCard office and will make available representatives from the financial aid, Bursar's, and Registrar's Office to answer in-depth questions that cannot quickly be answered at the desk.

Next year, after Information Systems has relocated to building N42, the remaining workers from the Bursar's and Registrar's office will move into facilities in the upper floors of Building 11, said Ronald J. Catella, a project manager for Physical Plant.

"Whether there will be enough room for all of"the Financial Aid office is currently being determined, Catella said.

Building 2 classrooms renovated

Ten classrooms in Building 2 are currently being renovated for use in the coming academic year, said Mary R. Callahan, assistant registrar for facilities and scheduling.

"We began to work in earnest [on the rooms] right after Commencement," he said.The rooms are getting new walls, chalkboards, lighting, heating and cooling systems, and tables and chairs.

All of the new rooms will feature permanent video projectors as well as overhead projectors, Callahan said. Eight of the ten rooms will be set up to allow projection from laptop computers brought into the classrooms.

"The remaining two rooms will be outfitted with a fixed Athena workstation" connected to the video projector as well as a computer at every student seat. These classrooms will not be ready for the fall semester, Callahan said.

"We're trying to determine the best furniture" to make the computer unobtrusive to the teaching process.

The remaining eight classrooms, though, are on schedule to be completed by the first day of classes, Callahan said."Ihaven't heard word to the contrary," she said.

Because of the expense of the new equipment, the rooms will be locked at night like the new classrooms in Building 56, Callahan said.

Renovation floods Building 7

Renovations to the Office of theCorporation caused major hassles for those at the Institute on Friday, June 27, when a construction worker demolishing a wall broke a sprinkler pipe.

Water from the pipe spilled down through the floor and into the office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, and forced an evacuation of the Infinite Corridor from Building 11 through the Lobby of Building 7 for much of that day, said Kim Ann Sutherland, construction manager for Physical Plant.

"We were certainly worried about the weight of the water and debris,"said Chief of CampusPolice Anne P. Glavin. "It took the entire department"to ensure the safety of the area while the clean-up efforts began. Ceiling tiles had fallen in many of the offices, and the carpeting was soaked.

Those who worked in the offices where the flooding occurred lost mainly personal items, according to Elizabeth I. Cogliano, coordinator of student programs. "I lost a lot of stuff that you just can't put a value on," she said.

Still, the offices were made habitable over the weekend. "The way [the office] looked on Friday and the way it looked on Monday was like night and day," Cogliano said.

"We had a contractor come in and deodorize the carpeting and wipe down the floors,"said Robert L. Donaghey, manager of personnel and administration for physical plant. Metro West, who was doing the construction, replaced the damaged ceiling tiles in the offices.

"Had [the flood] happened a week earlier, we would have been in trouble,"Cogliano said. The packets of information for incoming freshman were stored in the office and were mailed a few days before the flood.

Fortunately, the flood occurred during the summer, Glavin said. "As it was, there were a lot of onlookers and a lot of questions." Crowd control during the academic year would have been much more difficult.