Starting next week during spring break, scaffolding will go up in Lobby 7 as workers prepare for a major restoration and renovation of the lobby.
The project will include cleaning and restoring the walls, columns and dome; restoring the original 1930s lighting and adding new fixtures; and restoring the glass-block skylight, which has been covered since World War II, explained Ronald Catella, senior project manager in Facilities. Other improvements being discussed include a new coffee area. If approved, that work wouldn't begin until summer 2002, he said.
Access to Lobby 7 will be restricted this weekend (March 24-25) for delivery of scaffolding.
After next week, the gathering point for summer campus tours will change to a location to be announced; check the Admissions Office web site or the Information Center in Rm 7-121. The newsstands and recycling containers will also be moved temporarily.
Once the scaffolding is installed, pedestrian traffic shouldn't be affected; routes across the lobby will remain intact, Mr. Catella said. However, there will be several 5-by-7-foot scaffolding towers throughout the lobby to support work platforms. "It's still a straight shot across; you just won't be able to hold a square dance in there," he said.
The lobby lighting work will include removing the fixtures mounted in balcony railings and restoring the rings of lights above the interior skylight. "The whole dome will be bathed with light evenly, and you won't be seeing bulbs," Mr. Catella said.
In April and May, workers will test small areas of wall with different cleaning solutions and techniques. After a break for Commencement, work will proceed through the summer. Facilities hopes to have it done by the start of classes in the fall.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 21, 2001.