MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


The Physical Plant provides the physical environment, utilities, and support services necessary to promote the educational and research activities of the Institute. To ensure quality service to the MIT community, the department provides strong coordination and communication between multi-functional groups and its customers.


The first Grounds Services zone was created for the Athletics area of campus. The Athletic/Grounds zone combined Athletic Utility and Grounds staff, working under new job classifications and job descriptions to service both interior and exterior spaces within the Athletic complex, thereby enhancing the academic mission with a reduced workforce. Grounds has also begun to investigate and plan for an integrated central control system for campus irrigation systems. This year, the management of Building Services and Grounds Services was combined to provide better campus-wide customer service. The combined talents and skills of both divisions provide a strong response to an expanding campus as the Institute moves into a time of growth in buildings and land area.

Repair and Maintenance successfully completed the first full fiscal year under the redesign of five local zones and twelve central teams. Under the new design, the Structural/Project Team has performed and managed in-house project work and all projects to date have been completed on time and under budget. The Repair and Maintenance group also successfully demonstrated the department's waste management and spill prevention program during an Environmental Protection Agency Audit this year. Currently, master plans for facilities control systems, fire alarm systems, and infrastructure renewal for the campus are being developed.

The department is pleased to report that over $850,000 was saved through cost-saving initiatives implemented by the Mail Services group. In addition, this group has developed, with Design and Construction Services and SEA Consultants, a long-range plan for materials handling on campus. Over the next year, Mail Services plans to expand the program to reduce unwanted mail from both on- and off-campus sources. Implementation of the Publication, Subscription, and List Management Service (PSALMS) Discovery project will enable MIT community members to both subscribe and cancel campus publications on line, rather than receive unwanted publications. The subscriber will also be able to decide whether he/she wants to receive the publication electronically or on paper.


The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) order that required MIT to pay exit fees to Cambridge Electric for operation of the new Cogeneration Plant was successfully appealed. The Institute also successfully defended against damaging language in the new Electric Utilities Restructuring legislation enacted this winter.

A new continuous emissions monitoring data acquisition system was installed at the Central Utility Plant, enabling the facility to comply with stringent new environmental regulations. Utilities employees also continue to improve procedures, training, and record keeping to address all aspects of environmental compliance.


This year was the busiest in the history of the Design and Construction Section of Physical Plant, due in large part to the relocation of Building 20 occupants. The Building 20 location is the site for the new Stata Complex, which will house five laboratories and departments. This space accommodated 125,502 square feet of diverse users and all were absorbed into locations both on and off campus. Frank Gehry, the internationally recognized architect, was hired to design the new complex.

Departmental staff assisted with the development of scope and budget projections for both construction and landscape master plans to support the anticipated Capital Campaign.

Other highlights of the Design and Construction group include:

This year, the Plant took over responsibility from the former Office of Facilities Management Systems for the Insite Space Management system. A facilities audit began to inventory deficiencies in the academic buildings during the year. The capabilities of the database have been expanded to include facilities features such as underground utilities, irrigation systems, campus fire alarms, facility control systems, and the Central Utilities Plant.


The Management Information Systems (MIS) team continues to support the Physical Plant reengineering efforts by participating in the design and roll out of the new processes. A new SAP Stock Module was implemented, replacing the old system, and planning for and implementation of the transition to SAP for the rest of the department's accounting functions continues to move forward. The team enhanced and continued to provide training and support for Maximo, an I/T system to track work within the reengineered Repair & Maintenance process.

Several enhanced PC and Macintosh programs have been developed for use by Plant employees. The development and maintenance of CAD facility drawings of campus-wide and internal building systems also continues.

The MIS team has continued to deploy desktop computers for use by all members of the organization. There are almost 300 desktop computers in the Plant for use by administrative, support, and hourly staff. Significant I/T training continues to be provided to members of the department. The local area network for Plant was upgraded to support the expanding desktop needs of the department.


The Physical Plant has partnered with the Human Resources Practices Development project team, "Job Design and Classification," to develop competency models for administrative staff positions. Through this modeling process, Plant employees have gained a greater understanding of the concept of competencies. This tool is now being incorporated into current administrative staff search plans and job descriptions.

The Learning and Performance Center implemented a comprehensive training program. One milestone was the publication of a Training Guidelines catalog that lists training requirements for each job classification in Physical Plant. Training is classified in four categories: Legal/Safety Required, Physical Plant Required, Recommended, and Optional courses. The training program was implemented during the year and, after just six months, 757 registrants attended various Learning and Performance training events.


Recycling continues to expand throughout the campus. Presently the recycling rate is approximately 12 percent. In order to increase recycling rates and implement waste reduction strategies, the Plant will create a full-time Waste Management/Recycling position. The Institute is also continuing to abide by the ever changing regulatory requirements of local, state, and federal government agencies.

More information about this department can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Victoria V. Sirianni

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98