Institute Hall is a residence hall of WPI. It's the only freshmen hall at the bottom of "the hill" and sits across the street from Founders Hall.
In April of 1989, the administration announced that the incoming Class of 1993 would be approximately 700 students, the largest class in the Institute's history. Because on-campus housing is guaranteed for incoming freshmen, the school's first priority was to provide an additional 100 beds for this incoming class. This commitment led to the renovation of Institute Hall, the Institute's newest residence hall.
Located across from Founders Hall on the comer of Institute Road and Boynton Street, Institute Hall was originally constructed as the Princess Apartments. Eventually, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, Pi Chapter purchased the property. Shortly thereafter, the Princess Apartments became the home of WPI's chapter of the Lambda Chi. Experiencing financial problems, the fraternity deeded the title of the property to the Institute. For several years, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity occupied 12 Boynton Street.
In the spring of 1989, a member of Lambda Chi Alpha died after falling from the roof, drunk. The dead student had been underaged and the alcohol provided by the fraternity. The Institute served notice to the fraternity and it vacated the property. It was the college's intent to keep the building off-line for a year before incorporating it into the physical plant.
When the Admissions Office predicted the record Class of 700 students, the decision was made to convert the former Princess Apartments into campus housing. Plans were quickly drawn up by the architectural firm of Earl R. Flansburgh & Associates of Boston and construction began under the contracting firm of R. H. White Construction Company, Inc. There were only four months to completely rebuild the interior and refurbish the exterior. The interior was designed in single, double and triple occupancy rooms to achieve maximum bed space; no lounge space was allotted on the floors. Construction decisions were being made on the spot and a contingency plan for housing incoming students at a nearby hotel was being developed. In constant communication with the City of Worcester, construction continued to opening day with the final housing permit issued that morning.
At an expense of approximately 1 million dollars, Institute Hall opened its door to 70 male residents of the Class of 1993. Since no lounge space was provided for on the individual floors, the basement was designed to serve as a multipurpose facility. Located within this space is a study lounge, television area, recreation room with Ping-Pong and formerly foosball tables and a laundry facility.