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Operations Center gets a facelift

The Operations Center -- one of the most anonymous offices on campus but also one of the most important -- has gotten a major overhaul. The revamped center on the first floor of Building E19 was unveiled at an open house on November 17.

The Operations Center, run by the Department of Facilities, is responsible for all life safety and mechanical systems at MIT, from fire alarms to heating and cooling systems. Until recently, console operators were working to monitor 142 campus buildings in a space that had not been renovated in more than 20 years.

Renovation work, which began in July and was finished in the fall, included a new reception area for visitors, a completely revamped facilities control desk, a security camera and monitor, a new kitchenette and bathroom for staff members, new carpeting and an electronically operated key cabinet. Workstations were consolidated so operators can more comfortably monitor six screens simultaneously. Access to the center has also been restricted, which has cut down on interruptions and distractions for the systems operators.

"The Operations Center is now more efficient, as well as ergonomically correct," said Mary Tobin, supervisor coach for the Repair and Maintenance Department's Support Team. "The changes also brought the center up to NFPA [National Fire Protection Agency] standards pertaining to a central proprietary supervisor fire alarm station."

Joe Collins of the Department of Facilities' design and construction section was the project manager for the renovations. The architect in charge was Stephen C. Perry of Perry & Radford. Barr & Barr, Inc. was the contractor.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 24, 2001.

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