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MIT Chancellor announces delay in construction of new dormitory

Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow today issued the following statement on the status of the new undergraduate residence hall:

"The construction of MIT's new 350-bed undergraduate residence, scheduled to open in the Fall of 2001, has been delayed by a complaint filed by the owner of property adjacent to the dormitory site. The complaint, filed on February 15, 2000, formally appeals the granting of a Planning Overlay Special Permit for the Vassar Street dormitory by the city of Cambridge. Construction, which was to begin in March, should not go forward without the permit.

"We are disappointed by the delay and will do everything within our power to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. We have every intention of going forward with construction as soon as the permit is granted.

"The construction schedule has been ambitious, given the time we took to involve students and other members of the community in the programming and design of the residence, and then the need to redesign the building to meet concerns about building height raised at a meeting with the City's Community Development Department and members of the the Cambridge Planning Board. The permitting process took longer than anticipated, and involved the need for a second hearing to address the interests of the adjacent property owner. Following the second hearing, the Planning Board issued the permit, but the property owner appealed the granting of the permit on the last day of the comment period. It is no longer possible to complete the building in time for September 2001 occupancy.

"We are going to do as much site work and early preparation as possible, in order to start construction as soon as the appeal is settled.

"The new residence on Vassar Street is essential to the implementation of the new housing policy announced in August 1998 that requires all freshmen to be housed in undergraduate campus residence halls. MIT remains committed to this goal.

"The new freshman housing policy will become effective once the new dormitory is completed. We expect that the dormitory will now be ready for the class entering in the fall of 2002. Until then, freshmen may continue to live either on campus or in fraternities and independent living groups. Above all, our goal is to improve our residential system. We will not displace other students in order to move freshmen onto campus before the new dormitory is built."

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