Next, New Houses see renovations
Residents approve of summer improvements
Even for students who will not be moving into Maseeh Hall, coming back from summer vacation might mean returning to a new and improved dorm space. Both Next House and New House saw major changes over the summer while other dorms, both undergraduate and graduate, have been subject to other smaller improvements.
Next House has seen several changes, including new bathroom features, new exercise equipment, and a new TV and piano for the Tastefully Furnished Lounge (TFL). Basement areas have been revamped, including a redone laundry room, the addition of a air-conditioned conference room, and new AC in the country kitchen. A brand new, modernized front desk was also constructed.
The changes have been made as a result of a collaboration between Next House Exec — the dorm’s student government — and the MIT Housing Office. For example, Next Exec purchased the new exercise equipment and are helping to organize the improved TFL.
“Next House was just a really tired dorm”, Dennis Collins, Director of Housing, said, “The desk at Next was one of the few desks that had never been upgraded, it hadn’t been touched since Next opened in 1980. We’ve made really nice changes to the desk as well as the courtyard and other areas.”
The improvements in Next are being finished over the course of the next week. Residents of Next House who already moved back in are generally reacting positively to the new changes.
“I think the renovations really help Next House further have that community feel and also make it an even cleaner, easier, and beautiful place to live”, resident Erica L. Lai ’14 said.
New House has also seen improvements. New had its fire alarm system upgraded and brought up to today’s fire codes, much like the changes MacGregor underwent last year. New House’s air conditioning unit was replaced with a new, more efficient and energy-saving system. Although some residents already in New express dissatisfaction that the AC system is not currently on and that the fire alarms are still being tested, president of New House TyShaun Wynter ’13 remains optimistic that the changes are for the better.
“I think that [the renovations] are a good thing”, Wynter said, “The previous air conditioning unit was over 30 years old and I personally feel safer with the new fire alarm system.”
Although Collins said that there was not much else that Facilities and the Housing Office could do to New while the fire alarms were being upgraded, MIT did replace the flooring in some of the kitchen areas. The dorm’s emergency generator was configured so that New and MacGregor would run on the same machine.
“We have our hopes that [the renovations in New] will be done in the next few weeks”, Collins said. The AC will be turned on with completion of the renovations.
Next and New are not the only dorms that underwent changes over the summer. All of the dorms undergo routine maintenance every summer including spot repairs, paint jobs, as well as new carpets and furniture as needed. Collins said that the Housing Office is about to start working with the students of Senior House to completely replace all of their furniture over the course of the next five years. The bathrooms of East Campus were also completely inspected and repaired, and all of the dining dorms received upgrades to their dining halls to prepare for the new dining plan.
The next dorm to receive a big renovation like Next did this year has not yet been decided,
Collins continually emphasized the importance of having different dorms closed each summer.
“Every summer we have buildings closed”, Collins said, “It gives the buildings a rest and gives us the time to complete major work that we can’t do when people are living there. We work closely with housemasters and house presidents and they are generally happy with the work that we are able to do.”