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Institute to Consider Possible New Dorm

By Kathy Lin


MIT is conducting a feasibility study to determine whether to build a new dormitory. The issue has surfaced because of demand for both undergraduate and graduate housing.

The issue is “very much under discussion,” and “there are no specifics at this point,” said Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict. He is hoping that the feasibility study will be complete and a recommendation can be made within a year.

Benedict said the study will look at many different factors, including possible locations, cost, operating expenses, what kind of building it might be, MIT’s borrowing capacity, student input and more.

It is not yet known if it will be a graduate or an undergraduate dormitory, he said.

The funds for the construction of a new building would be borrowed, Benedict said, so “the current budget crisis really has nothing to do with the planning process.” MIT would borrow money from the financial markets by selling bonds.

Benedict said a new dormitory would be revenue neutral, meaning rents would pay for the total cost of the building.

A new dormitory could temporarily house students from other existing dormitories while renovations are being made. East Campus, Bexley, and Burton-Conner are currently slated for renovations.

“One of the things we’re going to try and do if [the dormitory] goes up is to vacate one of the parallels in East Campus for a year and do renovations,” he said. “The following year, the other parallel will vacate and we’ll do renovations there.”

Various renovation plans have been discussed in the abstract, said East Campus Housemaster Julian K. Wheatley, but he had not heard about the above plan.

“If it’s done very carefully and sensitively, it might be something to consider,” he said, but he had not “really thought about the consequences for doing something like that.”

“Clearly, some things need doing in East Campus,” he said, but, “ideally, students won’t move out for too long,”

Anticipated renovations at East Campus include new wiring, new plumbing, new air handling, new ventilation, a new roof, and new floors.

“I am hoping we’re going to build” the new dormitory, Benedict said. The recommendation based on the feasibility study will be passed on to the president and senior administration. With their approval, the final decision about building a new dormitory will ultimately be made by the MIT Corporation.