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Random To Remain Open Despite Fears

Random Hall’s Term Extended by Deans

By Frank Dabek and Naveen Sunkavally
STAFF REPORTERS

During an emergency meeting yesterday afternoon, MIT administrators determined that they would continue the long-term temporary existence of Random Hall as an undergraduate residence.

Despite fears that a closing date would be set for Random, Dean for Students Margaret R. Bates said that the group “decided to move ahead with a more detailed engineering study” of the site in preparation for an upgrade focusing on fire safety systems. The upgrade will allow Random to continue as a residence.

“I think [the study] is great... I’m happy that we’re moving forward,” Nina J. Davis-Millis, housemaster of Random Hall, said.

Davis-Millis said MIT tends to employ “a policy of deferred maintenance,” which has hurt Random Hall over the past few years.

Victoria V. Sirianni, director of the facilities department, said that along with East Campus, Random has once of the most antiquated fire suppression systems in the MIT housing system. Repairs are feasible, she said, but require “substantial infusions of cash.”

“We’ve known all along that this block would be taken over by the development company in charge of University Park, and that that knowledge has put Random in a limbo,” Davis-Millis said. “This study is a first step towards resolving that limbo.”

Bates acknowledged that Random has “always been considered a ‘soft building’” and its long term plans include absorption into the ongoing University Park development system. Those plans are “not the operative issue here,” however, Bates said.