About a month later than expected, two of the main entrances to the Bryan Center Plaza will close starting Nov. 27, the first day of Thanksgiving break.
Two walls will block the plaza, one placed at the arches connecting to the residential quadrangle and another placed on the walkway at the corner of the West Union building. The entire wooden section of the walkway will be inaccessible. The Chronicle previously reported that the closure of the plaza would begin in mid-October.
Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said the delay is due to a change in plans for the larger West Union reconstruction project, but the final outcome of the project will not be affected.
The West Union renovation is still slated to finish in December 2015, said Bill McCraw, project manager and staff architect in the Office of Project Management.
The walls will be in place when students return from Thanksgiving break, McCraw noted. Pedestrians will still be able to access the Bryan Center from Towerview Road on the sidewalk next to the Events Pavilion, and from behind Page Auditorium.
McCraw said the project team has decided to post information about the construction on the walls so that students can understand why the blockage is happening and what the final outcome will look like.
“That will be an opportunity for students to understand what’s going on, learn more about the project and why it’s necessary,” McCraw said. “We’re looking out for the students’ best interest.”
Moneta said that he believes students will not be adversely affected by this closure and that the University community has dealt successfully with similar inconveniences in the past.
“It will clearly affect routes, but we don’t think it will affect the use of the plaza or the Bryan Center,” Moneta said. “We had a similar closing when we first built the plaza and students were able to adjust without trouble.”
Students may be able to adapt, but some have expressed that they will miss the social functions the plaza plays.
“Walking across the plaza is a very quintessential part of the Duke experience,” junior Arielle Brackett said. “You always see people hanging out there, so it’s definitely going to impact the social experience.”
Although students may not be looking forward to the inconvenience, Moneta noted that they should be excited for the final result.
“It’s a small price to pay for what will be a spectacular and substantial improvement to our campus,” Moneta said.