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Media Lab May Build on E10 Site


T. Luke Young -- The Tech
The Media Lab (background, right) successfully lobbied MIT to demolish Building E10 (Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, center), and plans to build new facilities on its site.

By Frank Dabek
Associate News Editor

A new Media Laboratory building is scheduled to be constructed on the site where Building E10 now stands. The accelerated construction plan could begin as soon as early next year.

The Media Lab is currently located in Building E15, which is adjacent to the E10 site.

"An expansion of the Media Lab is planned for that site," said Director of Planning O. RobertSimha. He said that the Media Lab has obtained some funds for the project but was not sure whether the fund raising was complete.

"MIT has had long standing plans to expand the Media Lab," said News Office Director Ken Campbell. He said that a formal announcement of the expansion has been planned for sometime in the spring semester.

Campbell could not reveal the source or amount of the funding for the new center.

Course 9 researchers displaced

Many researchers in the Brain and Cognitive sciences currently have office space in Building E10 and will be forced to relocate following the Media Lab's expansion .

Andrea J. Hatch, administrative officer for the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, said that "researchers in that building are very concerned." The move is "creating a certain amount of anxiety and problems for our faculty," she added.

Hatch was unaware of exactly where the department would be housed in the future. The "Institute is trying to figure out a place" to move the offices. Hatch said that she expected to receive more information about the move "within a couple of months."

Campbell said that at the earliest any move would be made in approximately four months.

According to Simha the planning office is working on "providing them (displaced researchers) with another home." He said that it is "a tradition of MIT not to discommode everybody."

"Our long held institutional practice is not to relocate anyone without agreed upon acceptable alternatives," said Director Of Administration And Operations Stephen D. Immerman. However "agreed upon acceptable alternatives' assumes that people are reasonable," he said later.

Simha said that it was possible that a new building would be constructed for the Cognitive Sciences department. "Funds are being sought for that purpose," he said. The planning office has been "working on [getting the department a new building] for some time." No decision on this has been made at this stage in the planning, however.

The planned expansion of the Media Lab is one of several building and renovation projects currently planned or under construction around the Institute. Building 16 is currently being renovated. In addition, Building 20 is scheduled to be demolished over the summer to make room for a new building to be occupied by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.