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Dorm Renovations Are Expected To Finish on Time

By Pius Uzamere II

Residents returning this fall to East Campus and Random Hall can expect to move in next week as planned, according to Karen A. Nilsson, associate director for operations and housing. This summer’s construction is proceeding according to schedule, she said.

“We will be ready,” Nilsson said. The renovations at each dormitory are coming to an end, and the buildings, despite their current state of disarray, will be ready for freshmen during Orientation.

Renovations to the dormitories began at the end of last term as part of a $32 million project to upgrade the life safety systems of all residential buildings on campus. As part of this project, Eastgate and Baker House were also renovated, Nilsson said. Of particular concern in these renovations is fire safety, including the addition of sprinklers and grounded outlets, she said.

Nilsson said that East Campus and Random, two of the oldest dormitories on campus, were not in violation of fire codes. The renovations will allow MIT to maintain its fire safety standards, she said.

In addition to work on the life safety systems, the kitchens at East Campus were redone, the sinks were repaired, and Random Hall received some new furniture.

Although the renovations are nearing completion, some work will be continued after students move into the buildings in the fall. Attempts will be made to work around the students, Nilsson said.

The project was extremely difficult and “more extensive” than expected, Nilsson said. Final budget figures for the project, initially slated to cost $700,000, are not yet available.

While some unexpected difficulties were encountered, they were not problematic, Nilsson said. Trace amounts of lead and asbestos were found during core drilling of the building, but these were removed during the abatement process.

Residents’ belongings thrown out

In an e-mail sent to a public East Campus mailing list, Richard S. Tibbetts ’02 complained that residents’ personal belongings were being disposed of during the construction. “Anything in the lounges that does not meet with fire codes is getting grunged (thrown away),” Tibbetts said in the message. According to Tibbetts, belongings in a room designated as summer storage on Fifth East were also being “grunged.”

East Campus President Brandy L. Evans ’01 said that the situation had resulted from a miscommunication. Evans initially told residents that items moved to the lounges for storage over the summer would not be checked for fire code violations.

However, some of these items were mistakenly disposed of. In the case of the storage room, items were accidentally moved into a lounge rather than another storage room, she said.

Most of the items initially thrown out were rescued after complaints. Students will be reimbursed for any items that were lost, Evans said. Tibbetts, the hall chair for Fifth East, initiated negotiations with the administration regarding the lost items, she said.