The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 38.0°F | A Few Clouds and Windy

Work Begins on Lobby 7’s First-Ever Renovations

By Jennifer Krishnan

ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

Lobby 7 is getting a facelift.

Preliminary work began on the MIT landmark’s first-ever renovations last week. The renovations will cost $1 million and are due to be completed by the end of this summer.

“It’s the main focal point of this campus,” said Department of Facilities Senior Project Manager Ronald J. Catella. “It’s our front door.”

As part of this project, the laylight and skylight at the top of the Building 7 dome will be uncovered. They have been closed since the 1940s.

A second prong of the project is “the rejuvenation of the antique lighting system” in the lobby, Catella said. “Supplemental lighting will also be installed.”

The renovation also includes restoring and cleaning all the stone surfaces and work on waterproofing the roof. On the exterior of the building, pieces of the limestone above the lettering which have cracked off will be replaced by the end of the summer.

Prior to commencement, only testing and preliminary work will be done. The actual restorations will all take place over the summer.

The construction of Building 7 was completed in 1938, and the building has not been renovated since then.

The Department of Facilities is also planning to improve the doors of Lobby 7. Catella said they plan to air-lock all the doors. However, work on the doors will be complicated because of the ornamental glass wall. This part of the project will not happen until 2002 or later.

The renovation has been “talked about as a project for five years or more,” Catella said. Some testing and spot cleaning were done a few years ago, but “funding didn’t come through, so it was put on hold.”

Catella said there was initially some “trepidation” about putting scaffolding up in Lobby 7 before commencement. However, now he views it as an asset, because the alumni who visit this spring will see that the Institute is putting the funding to good use.

“We think it’s going to generate more donations” from alumni, Catella said.