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Polytechnic progress; New dorm, garage benefit city, WPI.


WPI took a welcome step toward alleviating congestion in the Salisbury-Highland Street neighborhood when it announced last week that it is building a dormitory as well as a parking garage.

The project will benefit both the university and the city. With the building of a less institutional-style dorm the university hopes to retain upperclassmen on campus, where they serve as natural leaders and can be more involved in campus life. WPI is also attempting to connect the school with its nearby mixed-use Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center and with the city at large. A distinctive feature of the project will be a scenic walkway connecting WPI with the cultural institutions of the upper Main Street neighborhood.

WPI's location does present obstacles to expansion, and the new dorm's capacity of 232, added to current housing for 1,250, means only a little more than half the college's 2,800 undergraduates will live in school-run housing.

A welcome element of the construction package is a 189-space parking garage. That won't be the whole solution to the chronic parking jam in the neighborhood, but it is a significant step in the right direction. Additionally, increasing on-campus housing is apt to decrease the number of cars vying for parking on campus and the surrounding streets.

Another bonus: WPI will seek certification for the new housing from the U.S. Green Building Council, a goal especially appropriate to an institution with a strong engineering focus.

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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Apr 25, 2007
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