To members of the MIT community:
Some of you have remarked recently that our campus looks and feels like a construction zone, and I would have to agree. There is no doubt that the Institute's extremely ambitious construction and renovation program is causing increased traffic, noise and pedestrian detours. And these inconveniences are making life here a lot less pleasant. In addition, the City of Cambridge's storm drain project and all the commercial construction work near the campus are having a significant impact on our community, as well as on the residents of surrounding neighborhoods.
I can't tell you that we're over the hump and that things will be better soon, because our current capital construction and infrastructure renewal efforts are scheduled out over the next nine years. However, I want to assure you that we are very aware of the effects that these projects are having on the community and are working to minimize the disruptions that we can control. For example, we will soon have a "mitigation plan" that addresses construction issues such as noise, vibrations, odors, and notification of tenants and neighbors. MIT project managers will customize that generic plan for each of our capital construction projects. There also will be a separate plan addressing traffic and parking issues.
In the past, the Department of Facilities has met with tenants and neighbors of major campus projects to answer questions and hear their concerns about upcoming work. That process will continue, but because of the complexity and volume of projects, the mitigation plans in the future will be even more comprehensive.
The capital projects team in Facilities is working under tight schedule and budget constraints, but they will do what they can to accommodate special requests and/or provide ways to lessen disruption. For example, construction plans have been adjusted so that students taking their final exams in du Pont, Rockwell Cage and the Johnson Athletics Center will not be subjected to construction noise. To improve the air quality for people in offices near the Stata Center project, Facilities provided air purifiers to help remove unpleasant odors that were coming from the soil at the site.
I appreciate your bearing with the upheaval that comes with this unprecedented period of campus growth and renewal--an era of physical change that is crucial to the future of the Institute. We will do our best to keep you informed about plans and changes, as well as try to avoid or alleviate disruptions whenever possible.
It's also important for you to know that representatives from MIT are meeting regularly with city officials to share information about construction schedules so the impacts of our projects and theirs are known and planned for in advance.
Right now, all that MIT community members can see are holes in the ground and lots of trucks and traffic. But a year from now, steel and concrete will be evident, and the future that we are working towards will be much clearer. In the end, we will all have a campus that better supports our academic pursuits and reflects the quality that is MIT.
-Executive Vice President John Curry
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 11, 2001.