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Simmons Hall Construction Expected to Finish in Nov.

By Veena Ramaswamy

The second phase of construction on Simmons Hall recently began and is expected to be complete in mid-November, according to Paul R. Curley, director of capital construction in the MIT Department of Facilities.

“The project was accelerated from a normal construction schedule of 30 months to 24 months in order to complete all the living areas in the building by Sept. 1,” Curley said.

However, the accelerated schedule brought about a delay in the work being done on the dining hall, cafe and the kitchen, all parts of phase two of the construction plan.

“We’ve made a lot of progress [with the construction]. The residents have been very patient,” said Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict.

Construction disturbs residents

Students, although patient, do admit to being bothered by the construction noises.

“Sometimes the construction starts early in the morning around 7 a.m. when it’s supposed to be starting at 9 a.m., so that really annoys people,” said Simmons Hall resident Lucy Y. Li ’06.

Li said that some residents joke that the construction is a substitute for an alarm clock.

“The construction noise in the morning is annoying, so I’ve gotten used to wearing ear plugs to bed,” Simmons Hall resident Joanna M. Natsios ’05 said.

The delays have also prevented her from unpacking. “I don’t have drawers yet, so all of my clothes are still in boxes,” she said.

Natsios also does not like that the constant work being done on the facilities does not allow one to know when items, such as microwaves, are available for use.

“It would have been nice if [the construction] was done before we got here,” Natsios said. “The dissatisfaction is like a unifying force for everyone in the dorm.”

Simmons ‘complicated’ to build

Benedict admits that the difficulty in finishing the building ahead of time is the result of the complexity of the building’s structure.

“The building was so complicated to build, so the rooms were focused on first,” Benedict said. “Everything about [Simmons] was very new and complicated but also very exciting,” he added.

Although peeved at times by the construction sounds, students are hopeful for the impending completion.

“It’s really annoying because my room faces the construction site, but I’d rather they work on it now and get it [the construction] over with then have them do all of the repairs later,” Simmons Hall resident David O. Jeria ’06 said.

“We anticipated that there would be problems and delays with a brand new building,” Benedict said.

Not-perfectly-symmetric lines and wavy concrete walls are items that, according to Benedict, make the dorm unique.

“Simmons is by far the most complicated residence hall in the U.S. to build,” Benedict said.

Budget expected to be 10% higher

The budgeted construction cost for Simmons Hall was $66 million, however Curley predicts that due to the acceleration the cost is expected to increase by 10 percent.

“The final costs are still being negotiated with our construction manager,” Curley said.

Simmons Hall is located on Vassar Street and is currently occupied by 350 undergraduates, 12 graduate students, the Housemaster, the Associate Housemaster and their families.