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Building Initiatives Strain Fundraising

By Brett Altschul

In recent years, the Institute has announced plans for a large number of construction projects. However, while plans for a given project may be announced, whether or not the plans will come to fruition is entirely dependent on the success of fundraising efforts for the individual project. Since the administration has also announced plans for a major capital campaign over the upcoming years, fundraising will be a major issue in the near future.

Several different construction projects are in various stages of development. Building 20 is slated to be torn down and replaced with a new Computer, Information, and Intelligence Sciences complex. New dormitories are planned for both graduate and undergraduate students. A new pool and a new building on the site of E10 are also in various stages of development.

President Charles M. Vest said that the planned capital campaign is being closely examined, in light of all the other major fundraising projects currently underway.

"Because of the possibility of a major capital campaign, the provost and senior vice president have been leading an effort to think through our long-term capital priorities," Vest said.

New Building 20 moving ahead

For most building projects, the Institute raises funds specifically for that project. This means that the different projects are constrained by different budgets. There is no schedule laying out which projects need to be completed first. The ones that receive large amounts of money are built more rapidly than those that do not.

The project in the most advanced stage is the new complex to be built on the site of Building 20. The complex will house the Laboratory for Computer Science, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, as well as the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.

"MIT is firmly committed to the construction of the facilities for Computer, Information and Intelligence Sciences," Vest said. "Fund raising for the CIIS facilities, led by the magnificent gift from [Raymond S. Stata '57] and Maria Stata, is proceeding very well."

The Statas donated $25 million for the construction of the CIIS facilities.

In January, MIT selected world-famous architect Frank O. Gehry to design the CIISfacility. Gehry has designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the American Center in Paris.

"This is an exciting opportunity to engage Frank Gehry, a truly world-class architect and thinker, to work with MIT faculty to create the best possible facility for carrying out learning and research about computer, information and intelligence sciences," Vest said.

Building 20 is scheduled for complete demolition over the summer, said Director of Planning O. Robert Simha MCP '57. As the renovated Building 16 opens again, many offices will be moving there from Building 20, he said.

Projects move at different rates

Other construction projects are on shakier schedules than the proposed Stata complex. A new pool, which will be situated between Johnson and Du Pont Athletic Centers, is currently in the planning stages. Currently, MIT has only one pool - the Alumni Pool - built in 1940.

The original impetus for the construction of a new pool came from an $8 million donation by Albert L. Zesiger '51 and his wife Barrie. The cost for the final construction is estimated at $18 million.

The absolute time table for the new pool will be determined by how the fundraising goes. "The core gift from Al and Barrie Zesiger has enabled us to proceed with confidence with the pool, but we are working hard to raise additional funds," Vest said. Fundraising for the pool is continuing at full speed, he said.

Building E10, home of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences may also be replaced with a newer facility. "It is very likely that a commitment to a new facility on the site of the current E10 will be announced in the not too distant future," Vest said.

However, who would occupy such a new facility is unclear. A large part of the brain and cognitive sciences department will be moving into the new Building 20 complex, and the E10 site has been suggested for an annex to the Media Laboratory.

Dormitories high priorities

The new dormitories are both in relatively early stages of development, Vest said. "We are fully committed to the new undergraduate and graduate housing, despite the fact that we are still discussing within the administration precisely how we will fund them," he said.

The graduate dormitory is farther along than the undergraduate one, having been under consideration for a much longer time. "The new graduate housing is now in the design phase," Vest said.