Barnhart announces new location for dorm

Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 named the West Garage parking facility (W45) as the most favorable location for the construction of a new undergraduate dormitory, according to an MIT News press release yesterday.

The dormitory will increase the amount of on-campus housing options available to undergraduates, and serve as relief to the student population living on campus as renovations are carried out in other dormitories.

The residence hall is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020, pending approval from the City of Cambridge. The selection process was guided by the New Residences Working Group, a student-faculty collaborative board created by the Division of Student Life and the Office of Campus Planning.    

The administrative portion of the group comprises staff members from the two offices, as well as Kim Haberlin, senior communications officer for the chancellor, and Matthew Bauer, director of communications for DSL. Eight students sit on the board, including DormCon President Kate Farris ’17, Allan Sadun ’17, and a delegation of New House representatives.

The group, charged with advising the design for the new dorm, had its final pre-design workshop meeting Jan. 24. Meetings were directed by architectural firm Perkins & Will, whose pre-design concepts included the Vassar St. location, four different outlines for the structure of the dorm, and recommendations for the internal layout of rooms.

According to Farris in an email to the student body last October, the group was to “consider the big picture of a new building and provide thoughtful solutions to the architects.” It based its work on a set of guidelines created by the Architectural Principles group describing the ideal structure and layout of an MIT residence hall.

The next step, according to Sadun, is for “senior MIT leadership [to] decide on an architecture firm to direct the design process.” He warned students that none of the concepts were final, and may be subject to cuts and changes due to budget constraints.  

The Department of Facilities is looking into methods of replacing the parking that would be lost with the demolition of the current W45. The dormitory and parking changes come as part of the West Campus Study, a MIT Capital Project.