West Campus Village deemed financially infeasible

Decision made after feasibility study by Division of Student Life and Office of Campus Planning

West Campus Village, an initiative to create a space that would provide housing for fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups seeking to relocate to campus, is currently financially infeasible, according to an email sent to FSILG stakeholders May 15.

“The total estimated project cost surpassed $130 million. Additionally, the project could not proceed without at least 50% of the funds being donor contributions,” the email said.  

“Only eight FSILG organizations expressed serious interest in relocating from their current houses to the West Campus Village, and there were no practical options for organizations to generate the funding needed to initiate the project,” the email continued.

The email was sent by Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson and Deputy Executive Vice President Anthony Sharon.

The feasibility study began in fall 2018 and was conducted by the Division of Student Life and the Office of Campus Planning (OCP), according to an FAQ document linked in the email.

West Campus Village “in its current form” has been under exploration since 2014 as an ongoing collaborative effort between FSILG students and alumni (including via the Association of Independent Living Groups), the DSL, the COP, and other administrators, according to the FAQ.

The focus of the second and more recent phase of planning, from 2017–2018, included “conceptual design” and “financial models,” the FAQ said.

A task force report from July 2018 proposed that the Village could consist of 8–10 townhouse-style units and house 300–320 students. The report also noted that West Lot, a parking area along Vassar Street, was a well-suited location.

“The West Campus Village was a vision to create another hub for student life and to enhance what we already have at MIT while modernizing and updating the living spaces available for the Greek house,” Alice Zhou ’20, president of the Panhellenic Association, wrote in an email to The Tech.

“We don't believe [the feasibility study] determines that the Village was a bad idea in any way; it just is not the right time for it since there aren't sufficient resources needed to carry the project out,” Zhou continued.

The Interfraternity Council is also “okay with this outcome,” Sam Ihns ’20, president of the IFC, said in an interview with The Tech. “It was really reassuring to see how much the discussions revolved around the students,” Ihns added.  

Going forward, Inhs said he hopes that “we can start to explore different pathways” to support the organizations that would have wanted to move into the Village.