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Walker Dining To Move To Stata

By Christine R. Fry


Walker Memorial’s first-floor dining facilities will be shut down later this school year in favor of new facilities at the Ray and Maria Stata Center, said Larry G. Benedict, the dean for student life, at last night’s meeting of the Undergraduate Association Senate.

Benedict predicted that the Stata Center will open in March or April of 2004. Pritchett Convenience Store will continue to operate on the second floor of Walker.

Benedict said that Walker needs approximately $15 million in improvements. “We’re beginning to slowly renovate Walker,” he said. But MIT does not have the money to complete all of the renovations immediately, he said.

In a presentation to the Senate, MIT officials also discussed the creation of a committee to discuss the creation of a new undergraduate residence within the next several years, the offering of some Division I sports, and a new access path for West Campus.

Talks begin on new dormitory

Benedict said that a committee has recently been formed to discuss the possibility of a new undergraduate residence.

“Eventually we hope and plan to build a new dorm. ... We have a committee that’s begun,” Benedict said.

A new dormitory would provide housing for students in older dormitories that are in need of repair. These dormitories would be renovated and then reopened for student habitation, he said.

Some sports may become Div. I

At the meeting, Director of Athletics Candace L. Royer discussed the news, initially reported in The Boston Globe, that some MIT sports may change their NCAA status from Division III to the more competitive Division I.

“The commitment our department has to providing Division III sports will not change,” Royer said. “We do have the opportunity to run some Division I programs.”

Benedict and Royer said that MIT will not devote a great deal of resources to recruiting Division I-caliber athletes.

“We are going to get the word out” through the Admissions Office and educational counselors, Royer said.

“We’re not going to give Division I scholarships,” Benedict said. “That’s just not who we are.”

Benedict presents other plans

Benedict and the Division of Student Life staff were the guests of honor at the first UA Senate meeting of the year.

In his presentation, Benedict also discussed plans under way to open an access path between Vassar Street and Amherst Alley through the Westgate parking lot for students to traverse at night.

Royer announced that the juice bar in the Zesiger Center, Punj, will probably open on Sept. 21.

With respect to Student Center projects, Benedict said that renovating the fifth floor reading room is high on his list of priorities. He also said that business proposals for the Coffeehouse space will be considered, but that for now it is a student activity space.