Turning left off of the infinite corridor at Cafe Four could soon lead to a new destination. Director of Campus Planning, Engineering & Construction Richard L. Amster, confirmed that Building 12 could be demolished as early as this summer, pending approval by the City of Cambridge. The removal of the building will make way for the Nano-Materials, Structures, and Systems Lab (nMaSS), which is projected to be completed in 2018.
Amster said that Building 12 is currently “a tired old building that sub-optimizes the use of space at its incredible location.” Amster also mentioned that the location of nMaSS on the building 12 site is beneficial because it serves as a crossroads for a lot of technical work related to the research that will go on at nMaSS. The Department of Materials Science and Engineering labs in Building 4 and the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) in Buildings 26, 36, and 38 are all nearby.
The construction of nMaSS will bring together research and equipment related to nanotechnology and materials that are currently spread across several different areas of campus. The new building will also include clean room space and other amenities to accommodate new, more sensitive research equipment. In a video released in April 2011 outlining the MIT 2030 plan, former MIT President Susan J. Hockfield referred to the construction of nMaSS as the Institute’s “highest academic priority” in the plan for campus development.
The first floor of Building 12 gets a fair amount of traffic during the day. It is currently the home of a few classrooms, an athena cluster, the Global Education and Career Development Offices (GECD), the Writing and Communication Center, and the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP), among other programs. The offices in Building 12 have been notified of the impending move and are beginning to formulate their plans find alternate space on campus.
One of the biggest changes for students will be the relocation of the offices that make up the GECD, the Career Services Center (including the interview cubes), the Prehealth Advising Office, and the Global Education office. All of those offices will be moving to E39 on Main Street sometime around the end of May, GECD executive director Melanie L. Parker said. Although the change does mean that the GECD offices will be farther away from the center of student activity, Parker views the move positively. She noted a number of key changes that will result from having a larger space in E39, including dedicated small offices for interviews rather than the current cubicle setup, larger offices so her staff can meet more easily with groups of students, and dedicated conference room space so they can hold events in their own consistent location.
“The Institute is making every effort to accommodate our needs,” Parker said. “We will work hard to transcend the distance between our new office and MIT.” She also mentioned that the GECD is working on adding on-demand web services, communication through Skype or phone, evening hours, and possibly even a satellite office on main campus in order to be closer to the students.
“A lot of aspects of E39 will be better than what we have now,” Parker said.
As for the other residents the building, the Writing Center, whose future space remains undetermined, will remain open until the end of the semester, according to the Writing and Communications Center Director Steven Strang. Bethany A. Walsh, UPOP Program Coordinator for Student Relations, said that the tentative plan for the UPOP office will involve a move to Building 1 into space currently occupied by the Office of Engineering Outreach Programs (OEOP). Jonathan D. Reed ’02, Special Liason to Student for IS&T said that the Athena cluster in 12-182 will close permanently in June in preparation for the building’s demolition. All groups with space in the building should be relocated well before the building is demolished this summer.