New House to Undergo Wholesale Renovation; Re-opening Slated for Fall 2019

Published in MIT News on November 7, 2016, by Kimberly Haberlin, Office of the Chancellor

Houses 1 and 2 will remain open to students in academic year 2017-18; New House, other communities working on plans to welcome affected students.

Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart and Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson have informed members of the MIT community that New House will undergo extensive renovations and repairs from June 2017 to August 2019. Barnhart and Nelson said the decision to renovate the 41-year-old building was based on the outcomes of a feasibility study conducted by the Office of Campus Planning and the MIT Capital Projects group. The study examined the costs, capacity gains, and construction timelines associated with two scenarios: renovating or re-building.

“We have informed your Head of House Wesley Harris and the entire House Team, as well as New House President Sarah Wharton and New House Exec. Like us, they are pleased with this decision and very excited to work with all of you to reimagine a new New House,” wrote Barnhart and Nelson in a letter to the New House community. They also delivered the news in person — meeting with residents and members of the house team in New House’s Arcade for a couple of hours on Sunday evening.

Barnhart and Nelson shared an overview of the feasibility study, noting the following key findings:

  • Building a new residence hall on the New House site would achieve a modest gain in beds but would cost significantly more than renovating the existing dormitory.
  • Maintaining New House’s current 288 bed count after required accessibility improvements are made is a primary goal for the renovation project.
  • The comprehensive 2015 renovations to Houses 1 and 2, including upgrades to those buildings’ separate heating and cooling systems, mean that these houses can remain open to students during the 2017-18 academic year.
  • Extensive repairs to the heating and cooling systems in Houses 3-6 are necessary. In an effort to mitigate disruption for students, re-construction in House 3 will not take place while students are living in Houses 1 and 2.

Barnhart and Nelson told students that they are “really thrilled” by the decision about Houses 1 and 2. “We understand that this is an uncertain time for New House residents. It’s our hope that these two pieces of good news will bring a bit more certainty to the ongoing relocation process,” they wrote...

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