Metropolitan Warehouse will not become dorm

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Metropolitan Warehouse may house makerspaces, but no students.
Robert Rusch—The Tech

The Metropolitan Moving & Storage Warehouse will not become a dorm. Instead, a new undergraduate residence will be constructed “from the ground up,” most likely in West Campus.

The administration plans to reuse the warehouse “in a number of creative ways.” The building might eventually feature street-level retail, maker spaces, study spaces, and “innovation spaces,” Associate Provost Karen K. Gleason told The Tech.

“We need to renovate some of our older residence halls,” Gleason said, explaining the need for a new dorm. “[N]ew housing will allow us to accommodate the housing needs of all students while those buildings are under construction.”

Administrators are still in the early stages of planning out the work to be done. Gleason said the plans to turn the Metropolitan building into a dorm were abandoned “just over the past couple of weeks,” and timelines for each construction project have yet to be worked out but will be forthcoming.

Uncertainty and fear that it would be impossible to house students in the Metropolitan building by Sept. 2018 prompted administrators to change course.

“Certain unforeseen design constraints and construction challenges associated with renovating a 100-plus-year-old building on the National Register of Historic Places now make our estimated timeline difficult to achieve,” Gleason told The Tech in an email. “There is also a multi-step permit approval process that is likely to push the original completion schedule beyond 2018.”

At several points, students were able to give input on the design of the dorm that would have been built in the Metropolitan building.

“Students on the Met Warehouse Advisory Group and the Chancellor’s Student Housing Advisory Committee provided valuable insights throughout the design process,” Gleason said. “Their input, along with the input collected during [dorm presentations], led to important changes in proposed room sizes and floor layouts as well as aspects of the dining, maker, and community spaces envisioned for a Met undergraduate residence hall.”

“On more than one occasion, the team completely reworked floorplans based on our input. The design, in its final iteration, reflected a sincere respect for students’ opinion and insight into their own living spaces,” DormCon President Yonadav Shavit ’16, who serves on Metropolitan Warehouse Advisory Committee, said in a statement that was approved by the Chancellor’s office.

“I am happy that the Metropolitan Warehouse will be used for something else; no matter how well the design process went, there was only so much we could do to turn the warehouse into a home,” he said. “I believe that in this next dorm’s design phase, informed by our recent discussions but no longer constrained by architecture, we can build a really great dorm.”