MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Planning Office

During the year, a revision of the MIT Capital Development Program, the extensive inventory of MIT's capital projects, their estimated costs, and their location on the campus was initiated to update the underlying financial models based on changing institutional and market economic conditions. These documents provide a comprehensive picture of MIT's capital needs and their implications for land and financial resources for the next ten to 15 years.

The Planning Office provided extensive support to the Resource Development Office in preparing for various fund raising initiatives. The need for prospective capital financial analysis and supporting graphic materials is expected to grow as MIT considers new or alternative resource development strategies.

Progress has continued toward the development of a geographic information system (GIS) for the campus. Technologies compatible with the existing digitized campus base map are readily available and will be evaluated with the intention of implementing such a system during the next year. These efforts will also include consolidation of physical surveys and title research initiatives to clarify long-standing ambiguities between Cambridge and MIT records regarding land ownership.

Two major roadway improvement initiatives will have a major effect on the campus. First, MIT has sought and received approval from the necessary city and state agencies along with the MDC for the redesign of the Memorial Drive/Massachusetts Avenue intersection. Placement of signals and turning lanes will improve pedestrian safety and traffic movements, as well as reduce non-MIT traffic through the west campus along Amherst Street. Second, the reconstruction of Massachusetts Avenue from Memorial Drive to Lafayette Square is expected to improve both safety and aesthetics along this major transportation artery. In addition, the Massachusetts Avenue reconstruction will include support for increasing the use of bicycles as a commuting option.

Parking on the campus remains of great importance to the community. MIT has now made a commitment to institute a charge for parking. The Planning Office provided the staff support for an ad hoc task force charged with conducting a review of current policies and making recommendations for change.

Great strides were made this year in developing plans to improve the campus environment. Landscape design and improvement projects this year have included improved walks and lighting in Killian Court; development of a master plan for the athletic fields on the west campus; site improvements at the new Tang Center (E51); a master plan for the east campus along Amherst Street, including improvements associated with the renovation of Senior House; and the installation of trees along Albany Street in conjunction with a city repaving project.

As a key part of the master landscape plan, efforts have begun to develop a graphical record of all plantings and landscaping materials in use at the Institute to incorporate that listing into a mapping reference system.

With the completion of the Biology Building, the Planning Office has continued its efforts to implement an academic facilities plan for the main campus. This includes occupancy analysis and planning coordination for the renovation of Buildings 16 and 56 and the related relocation options for the current occupants of Building 20.

Progress continues toward analyzing opportunities for the development of new classroom and lecture hall facilities in the northeast sector of the main campus consistent with the Project 2000 report. Initial development alternatives for new Brain and Cognitive Science facilities have been prepared, as well as a review of expansion options for the Media Lab.

Other facilities planning activities have included occupancy alternatives for buildings N51 and N52 following evacuation by the School of Architecture and Planning; alternatives for implementing planned improvements to the central athletic, tennis, and rowing facilities on the west campus; and the preparation of a plan for Walker Memorial to improve accessibility.

Efforts continue to improve the availability and quality of student housing. Initial plans for the renovation of Senior House, the Institute's oldest student housing facility, have been completed. Preparatory construction will be accomplished this summer but the major work will be carried out next summer. Planning has also begun for the restoration of Baker House, a national landmark building, in anticipation of its 50th anniversary in 1999.

A study of the current and expected demand for new graduate student housing in cooperation with the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs began in earnest. With recent developments affecting the demand for housing, such as the end of rent control in Cambridge after over 20 years, housing will continue to be a major issue.

As part of MIT's standing commitment to permit equal access to all of its facilities, a comprehensive barrier removal plan for the campus was completed.

The office continued to provide planning and staff support to the Office of Government and Community Relations and the Real Estate Office. In addition, a variety of materials were produced by the Planning Office during the year in support of academic planning.

O. Robert Simha

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95