With three construction projects on campus wrapping up in the coming year, students will gain access to an array of new resources and creative facilities.
The Student Health and Wellness Center is projected to open in January 2017, the Science Drive Parking Garage the same month and the Arts Center by October 2017. Sue Wasiolek, associate vice president for student affairs, said students currently frustrated about construction now will soon have access to its benefits.
“At least two of those projects, the Arts Building and the Health and Wellness Building, will have a very direct impact on students, students’ lives and student services,” she said. “I think that everyone understands that with progress it is not unusual to have a level of inconvenience that goes along with it.”
Wasiolek noted that student resources will be better integrated with the completion of the Student Health and Wellness Building because a variety of related resources—from Counseling and Psychological Services to a pharmacy—will be consolidated. She added that this intended to simplify how students pursue healthcare and encourage a more proactive approach to wellness.
To provide a holistic wellness experience, Student Affairs will also include a garden in the back of the building, Wasiolek said. This will be completed by February 2017.
Students said they hope the new facility will be more convenient.
“The only time I ever went to Student Health was when I had a cold, and that was really difficult to find,” said sophomore Maddie Nelson. “So if it is all in one place, that will be better.”
Similarly, the Arts Center will provide a centralized hub for the arts community once completed, said Scott Lindroth, vice provost of the arts.
Following the closure of parts of Campus Drive during the summer, construction of the new arts building has ramped up in recent months. Lindroth said he hopes the building will positively impact the artistic life on campus next year.
“This is really meant to be open to all students on campus, regardless of their commitment to the arts. There will be plenty of social spaces,” he said. “There will be wonderful venues to witness the arts, either in the black box theater or the film theater.”
The new building will include drawing and dance studios, a coffee shop with a stage for use by student groups and many other resources for creating and appreciating the arts.
The facility is expected to begin hosting non-curricular activities in Fall 2017, but the official opening for classes will not occur until January 2018, Lindroth explained.
Initially expected to be completed by August 2017, the project was pushed back due to weather.
“The winter weather pushed the project back a few months,” wrote Ray Walker, staff architect and project manager, in an email.
Recent work on the building has included steel being erected, while panels are in the process of being installed, Walker noted. The next step for the Arts Building is having a curtain wall installed.
Lindroth explained that art departments will capitalize on their new space by expanding the artistic opportunities offered under DukeCreate, which launched in 2015. The program offers workshops in various areas of the arts during the academic year and will include a “visiting artist-in-residence” program.
“We will work closely with the Nasher and Duke Performances, our two major presenting organizations, and develop residency programs that will bring artists to campus for longer periods of time,” Lindroth said.
Having artists in residence visit three to four times a year will facilitate their incorporation into the curriculum, Lindroth noted.
Across West Campus on Science Drive, a new parking garage looks to add 2,265 new spots for students, faculty, staff and event-goers, noted Steve Carrow, a project manager with Duke Facilities Management. The facility is set to open in January 2017 and will do more than just house cars, Carrow added.
“The plaza area between Science Drive and the deck entrance is set up to be used for tail-gates,” he wrote in an email.
The new structure will also house the Parking and Transportation Office.
Recent progress on this project resulted in the reopening of Science Drive and two new bus stops in August. The next step for the project is completion of landscaping, paint striping and adding a turn lane to North Carolina Highway 751. Carrow noted that the goal of the project is to remedy a lack of parking on West Campus.
Wasiolek noted that the inconvenience of construction is nearing its payoff—the development of a more synergistic approach to student services and experiences.
“My sense is that students are very pleased with the fact that a number of major projects have been completed— the library, Chapel, West Union, the Main Quad and landscaping,” Wasiolek said. “In talking with students, I think that they would be happy to have all the construction done.”