On Thursday, Oct. 14, the Phoenix Group — an incubator community for Maseeh Hall — joined Dean for Student Life Chris Colombo and Housemaster Jack Carroll for a behind-the-scenes look at the construction underway at Fariborz Maseeh Hall (formerly known as W1 and Ashdown House). Led by Sonia Richards, project manager for W1; and Dennis Collins, director of housing, the group was able to get a first-hand look at the building's progress.
“Very rarely does one get to see construction like that,” said freshman Clayton Goggil. “Most of the floors don't have walls and the inside is completely bare, but from what we could see, Masseh Hall will be gorgeous.”
Historical aspects of the building are being preserved, including much of the original woodwork and moldings, nonfunctioning fireplaces and the original ceiling in the front entrance. One floor has been completely framed out, allowing students to see the room configuration and understand the layout of a floor.
The Phoenix Group is made up of 50 students who currently live in Ashdown House, along with Housemasters Jack Carroll and Suzanne Flynn. Since 2008, the group has been cultivating a community for the new hall. Construction on the dormitory was halted in 2008 amid economic uncertainty, but thanks to a gift from Fariborz Maseeh and the Massiah Foundation, the building will open next fall.
“We’re really excited for Maseeh Hall to open," Carroll said. “The Phoenix Group is a very interesting group of students who are working to shape a culture for a much larger group than they currently are and they're embracing this opportunity to be leaders."
Phoenix Group students and “social members,” students who do not live with the Phoenix Group but plan to live in Maseeh Hall when it opens, will have first choice on rooms in the new hall.
“It’s been great because we’ve had a lot of say in the new building, like what furniture will be in the common spaces and how the basement will be designed,” said junior Virginia Nicholson, who already has possible rooms picked out.
The tour was not only a chance for students to scheme about what room they want, but it also gave the group a taste of what their years of work will accomplish.
To learn more about the construction on Maseeh Hall, visit http://web.mit.edu/facilities/construction/w1/.