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Current W1 residents tour a partially-finished apartment in NW35 on Feb. 14. A group of undergraduates, GRTs, and housemasters who intend to move into W1 will live in 57 rooms of NW35 until fall 2010.
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This fall, about 50 undergraduates will live in the new graduate dormitory NW35 in advance of moving into a renovated W1, currently called Ashdown House, when it reopens in fall 2010.

Approximately 10 of those residents, a “founders group” to be selected by MIT, will take part in the planning of W1, from selecting graduate resident tutors to advising architects.

The 50-or-so undergraduates, several GRTs, and W1’s future housemasters Suzanne Flynn and Jack Carroll will occupy 57 rooms in an “incubator” section of NW35, according to the MIT Housing Web site. All the rooms in NW35 are singles. The “incubator” rooms include one-person efficiency apartments and two-bedroom apartments with living rooms.

The founders group will meet with the housemasters as often as weekly beginning in early March and continuing for the next two years, Flynn said.

Members of the founders group will select GRTs, design W1’s government, and shape decisions made by the architects renovating the dormitory. Flynn said that they might look at other universities’ dormitories for inspiration, in particular those of Yale or Stanford.

Carroll said that the small size of the founders group would help them make quick decisions. “We could decide something in September, but then decide in May we want to do something else,” he said. The “incubator” students who are not in the group will nevertheless work closely with them, most likely in committees.

The housemasters said they hope the colony will help build a unique culture for W1. “We’re not interested in merely duplicating another dorm,” said Flynn. “We’re looking for something new.”

Most upperclassmen will have graduated when W1 reopens, but juniors, sophomores, and freshmen may all apply to join the founders group. Students selected to help found W1 will live in NW35 for the next two years (or until they graduate). Undergraduates forming the colony will have access to the same facilities available to graduate students in the dorm, and they might take part in a graduate-undergraduate mentoring program.

Applications for this founders group were originally due tomorrow, but the deadline was extended to Monday, Feb. 25. Students may pick up an application at a meeting to be held in the W1 Hulsizer Room on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. or by e-mailing w1foundersgroup@mit.edu. The application process for the other residents will come later.

Only about a dozen students went to a planning meeting on Feb. 11; another meeting for those interested in being part of the founders group will be held this Thursday. The deadline was set early because architects of the W1 project will visit campus on March 14, Associate Dean for Residential Life Donna M. Denoncourt told the Dormitory Council at its Feb. 13 meeting.

The price of housing for the fifty undergraduates living in NW35 next year has not been confirmed, but Flynn and Carroll said that they hoped the prices would be competitive with other undergraduate dorms. “No one should be priced out [of the founders group],” Flynn said.

Graduate students will pay $1,078, $1,024, or $960 per month to rent rooms with the same layout as those reserved for undergraduates, according to the Housing Web site.

When W1 reopens in about 2010, it will be the largest undergraduate dormitory, offering approximately 400 residents.