On Saturday, Dec. 16, two mature pin oaks traveled down Main Street under MIT and Cambridge police escort, temporarily stopping traffic and pedestrians. The two 40-foot trees, each weighing 16 tons, moved from Building E56 to their new home on Carleton Street across from the entrance to MIT Medical.
E56, former home of the Dibner Institute and Burndy Library, will be demolished in early 2007 to make room for the new MIT Sloan School of Management. The Dibner Garden in front of E56 was established in 1992 to create a place of contemplation and retreat. It featured a bust of Copernicus, a sundial and other elements that reflected Dibner's scholarly mission as an institute for the study of the history of science and -technology.
In an effort to preserve established and healthy plants from the garden, the Facilities Department saw an opportunity for reuse at the recently demolished Building E32 site. The creation of a park at E32 was a condition of demolition by the Cambridge Historic Commission. The design, prepared by the department's campus planning and design division, incorporates four Kousa dogwoods, two pin oaks, bluestone pavers and benches from the former Dibner site.
Contractor D. Schumacher expertly moved the trees for about the cost of purchasing a single new tree of the size relocated. In a separate effort, MIT Grounds Services relocated 30 large rhododendrons from Dibner to Killian Court.
Work at the E32 site is well advanced, with full completion scheduled for spring. The new MIT Sloan School building will take somewhat longer, with occupancy scheduled for fall 2010.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 20, 2006 (download PDF).