Students to play role in shaping future of W1

Published in MIT News: December 12, 2007

W1, one of MIT's oldest and most cherished buildings, will be given new life under a major renovation plan announced this month, and students, faculty and staff will play key roles in shaping its future.

Also known as Ashdown House after a popular former housemaster, W1 is MIT's oldest graduate residence hall and arguably the cultural center of the Institute's graduate community. Its dining room has been a focal point of the MIT graduate experience, serving as a meeting place for faculty and their students.

With the scheduled opening of the new NW35 graduate residence hall next summer, administrators had been hoping to turn W1 into an undergraduate residence as early as the fall of 2008. But they have come to realize that W1 needs a major renovation, and the plan to bring the residence hall back into service has been pushed back by two years.

The delay, however, has presented a classic opportunity for MIT to do what it does best: collaborate as a group to solve a problem.

To that end, MIT has named Suzanne Flynn, professor of linguistics and language acquisition, and her husband, Jack Carroll, housemasters of the soon-to-be-renovated W1, and the pair have begun recruiting students to join a founders group that will design the building's community.

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