MIT recently launched a major effort to transform one of the oldest historic buildings on campus into a hub for student community life near the center of the campus.

Built in 1901, the seven-story brick building at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Memorial Drive, now known as W1, was a residence for graduate students for nearly 70 years. MIT is now renovating the building to house 460 undergraduates and aims to provide not only academic and laboratory space, but also living and social facilities where students can learn from each another and gain communication and leadership skills. Meeting space, dining facilities, and an outdoor courtyard will reinvigorate student life in the heart of the campus.

The project, which incorporates energy-efficient design and sustainable materials, will also include housemaster suites, apartments for graduate tutors and residential scholars, as well as study and practice rooms. The renovation is designed to foster community and teamwork and to ease the transition to the rigorous demands of the Institute.

The rebirth of this architecturally significant structure is a key project of MIT’s Campaign for Students. The campaign, which kicked off in the fall of 2008, aims to raise at least $500 million to support scholarships and fellowships as well as funds for student life and learning. Thanks to the generosity of 39,092 alumni and friends, the Campaign has reached 86 percent of its $500 million goal as of February 28, 2010. MIT’s sesquicentennial in 2011 — when the Institute will celebrate 150 years of education and research — will mark the end of the Campaign for Students.