It was a busy summer for Residential Life & Dining's Housing department, as it completed major improvements and renovations to the undergraduate, graduate and fraternities, sororities and independent living groups (FSILG) communities. All undergraduate and graduate residence halls at MIT are enrolled in yearly paint, carpet, furniture and appliance replacement plans and most buildings receive upgrades during the summer. However, with the support and assistance from the students, additional renovations were made to several residence halls across campus this summer.
East Campus, McCormick Hall, Next House and Senior House were closed this summer for renovations and buildings were under repair from June through August. "Housing continued the summer utilization program for a third summer this year," said Dennis Collins, director of residential life for capital renewal and construction. "The overall housing utilization plan is to close each of the undergraduate buildings at least once every five years to conduct a heavy cleaning, which is impossible in an occupied space. This plan will allow MIT to address deferred maintenance and, in collaboration with the students, rethink the overall program of the building."
The carpeting in East Campus was replaced on all 10 floors and the lounges received new flooring and a fresh coat of paint. The kitchens received several upgrades — 18 new stoves were installed, the cabinets and faucets were repaired, the walls were repainted and the flooring was redone.
In preparation for McCormick Hall's 50th anniversary in 2013, Housing replaced all of the corridor flooring in the west tower and all of the kitchen flooring throughout the entire building. The artwork and antiques in the building will also be upgraded this year.
Interior and exterior renovations were completed at Next House over the summer. Each room received new cove boards, which serve as base boards that cover where the wall meets the floor. In collaboration with the Department of Facilities, the fire alarm and suppression systems in the building were updated and the brick and concrete facade was renovated and secured.
The seven kitchens in Senior House's cook-for-yourself community received upgrades and maintenance, as well. "It's awesome that the renovations support the cooking culture here ... and so multiple people can cook at once," said Senior House Graduate Residence Tutor (GRT) Josiah Seale. Seale, along with other GRTs, was in the newly renovated kitchen on Sept. 5 cooking for other students for the first day of classes. Another GRT from Senior House, Jesse Austin, agreed with Seale and added, "We appreciate that they [Housing] are putting money where the social fabric of the house comes together. The kitchens are where people meet and cook together."
According to Collins, Housing consulted an architect to, "work with the students in Senior House to redesign all of the kitchens on each floor. The students shared with us how each of the kitchens are used and provided great insight to improving the layout and flow of each space." New appliances, from sinks to microwaves and stoves, were installed throughout the building's seven kitchens.
Some of the graduate student residence halls also received maintenance this summer. Westgate Apartments finished a heating system upgrade that began in 2011. Tang Hall received a major facade masonry upgrade and exterior water proofing, while new air conditioner chillers were installed in Sydney Pacific.
Housing's summer renovations also affected the FSILG community. MIT acquired the property at 405 Memorial Drive two years ago and have funded several renovations to the building. The building holds 52 people and will open this fall, housing the Pi Phi sorority. The building, which includes a handicap accessible ramp for the common area and specialized furniture with wheels for easy moving in each room, received new landscaping over the summer as well.
MIT Housing has already started planning renovations for the coming year. With the help of students, the department looks forward to continuing to enhance the residential communities, as well as the overall MIT experience.