Building the future campus
MIT 2030 vision links renovations, new construction
MIT has begun laying out the future of our campus. By coalescing several of the Institute’s ongoing and future campus development projects under a broad planning initiative dubbed “MIT 2030,” Institute administrators and faculty hope to realistically envision where the campus will be in 20 years. MIT recently sold $750 million in 100-year bonds to help finance development projects in the MIT 2030 framework.
MIT 2030 is not, in itself, a strict campus development plan. On the MIT 2030 website (http://web.mit.edu/mit2030/), MIT calls it a “tool for envisioning — and inventing — a vibrant future for our physical campus and the innovation district close by.” Effectively, MIT has brought together a number of campus renovation, new construction, real-estate development plans, and current projects that relate to academic goals and predicted needs.
According to outgoing Executive Vice President and Treasurer Theresa M. Stone SM ’76, MIT 2030 is a “compilation of the best thinking” on how MIT’s physical campus can meet its academic vision, incorporating input from the Academic Council and MIT’s senior leadership.
The MIT 2030 framework has identified new construction and development that MIT feels can reasonably be completed within the next decade (see map and sidebar), according to Stone. Two new research facilities — one for energy and the environment and another for nanoscale research — are being considered at sites close to central campus.
MIT also hopes to complete a number of renovation and capital renewal projects in dormitories and older academic buildings, including Buildings 41–43, Building 2, Walker Memorial, and E52, among several others. Capital renewal refers to systems, infrastructure, roofs, elevators, plazas, interior finishes, and other maintenance, according to the MIT 2030 website.
An extended scope of capital renewal and campus renovation is expected beyond the next decade, including Kresge Auditorium, Burton Conner, MacGregor, and the Student Center, among others.
Stone noted, however, that “things can change,” and that MIT 2030 is the Institute’s current expectation for feasible campus renewal and expansion.
Stone said that the first decade of new academic development is expected to cost $1.5 billion — $500 million for new construction (energy/environment and nanoscale research facilities) and $1 billion for campus renovation and capital renewal. To finance half of that, MIT recently sold $750 million in 100-year taxable bonds, which yield 5.623 percent interest. The timing was good for MIT, said Stone, because of “favorable market conditions” and historically low interest rates.
People or organizations who purchased these bonds have effectively loaned MIT money. In return, the Institute promises to pay back the loan, plus interest, within 100 years. Stone said the investors tend to be “very high-quality” institutions, including large insurance companies and money managers in the United States and Europe.
Regarding the caliber of the investors, Stone said the bond sale was a “great vote of confidence” in MIT.
MIT hopes to make up the remaining $750 million through fundraising, aspirations for which Stone calls “ambitious.”
“The realization of the types of projects envisioned in the plan will be dependent on the support and generosity of friends of MIT,” she added.
Separate from new academic construction and renovation — but still under the MIT 2030 framework — is real estate development projects by the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo). Real estate development, which usually involves the construction of new lab, office, and retail space on MIT-owned property in Cambridge, will be funded separately from the MIT 2030 academic construction and renovation.
MIT 2030 is not, however, a push for new real estate. All of the MITIMCo development concepts outlined on the 2030 website are for property MIT already owns.
Stone said that much of the 2030 framework has so far been driven by input from MIT’s academic leadership. Stone says input from “broad sectors of the community” will continue to be solicited throughout the process.
MIT welcomes ideas on MIT 2030 at firstname.lastname@example.org.