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Stata Center to Open in March

By Jenny Zhang

ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

The Ray and Maria Stata Center will open as MIT’s Building 32 over spring break, said David J. Silverman, a facilities department senior project manager.

The opening, originally planned for this month, was delayed to have a more complete building upon move-in rather than one where construction would be working around the inhabitants, he said.

“It was a quality-of-life issue and whether they wanted people coming in to paint the walls” while they were in their offices, he said.

All that is left to finishing construction is “tying up loose ends, touch-ups, networking, nothing huge,” Silverman said.

The $285 million complex, in progress since 1999, will house the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, and the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.

Decision made in December

Christopher J. Terman PhD ’78 of CSAIL said that the building’s management team decided in mid-December to put off much of the move until spring break, the week of March 22 to 26.

“We could have moved in at the end of January,” Terman said, “but people thought that it would be panicky.”

Smaller groups from linguistics and L.I.D.S. may move in early March, but the schedule is fluid, Silverman said.

Location of classes undecided

Many classes, principally in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Linguistics and Philosophy, and Health Sciences and Technology, were scheduled to be in the Stata Center this spring. “We built the spring schedule without the five [Stata] rooms in the equation” as back-up for this kind of situation, said Assistant Registrar Peter D. Bedrosian.

“The plan that I know of is that each class will decide whether or not to move” after spring break, Terman said.

Networking incomplete

One of the parts still incomplete in the Stata Center is the networking for floors two through nine.

Garrett A. Wollman of CSAIL said he is unhappy with the project management team, which includes representatives of the construction companies and MIT, including Terman of CSAIL and Silverman of the facilities department.

“This has gone a lot more slowly than I would like,” he said. “We had a lot of issues.”

“Everyone on our end knew from the beginning that there was not a chance we could be done in January, certainly since September,” he said.

One of the issues, Wollman said, was that networking needed closets to store equipment, but this request was not satisfied by the management team. “It’s been really ridiculous how little technology input has been taken,” he said.

Regarding the plans for the networking to be done in time for the March move, Wollman said “I think we can make it happen if they hold up their end.”

Silverman said that the request for closets could not have been satisfied because the closets were requested after the design of the building was determined, and no compromises could be made to the design at that stage in construction.

Budget is capped at $285 million

Silverman said he is confident that the cost for constructing the Stata center will remain at $285 million. “We’ve been working with the provost, and the costs are pretty much contained,” he said.

He said that it was highly unlikely there would be substantial further costs.