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Trustees discuss plans to build new dormitory

Plans to build new dormitory space topped the Board of Trustees' agenda over the weekend.

Most of the board's discussion about new dorms took place during a closed session Saturday morning, when trustees spent more than an hour talking about the project.

rMDNM_The board did not take any formal action, but indicated its wish for the project to proceed, said Trustee Bud Schaefer, chair of the buildings and grounds committee, after the meeting.

Schaefer acknowledged that there is not yet agreement on how many dormitories the University should build, but said the process should not stop at a time when there is general agreement on building housing for at least 380 students on East Campus.

Until recently, administrators had planned to bring a final recommendation on new dormitories to the trustees at the February meeting. But the timetable has been extended until the May meeting, which gives the administration almost three months to tackle the unresolved questions about the dorms.

The University needs to build about 1,000 bed spaces to eliminate North Campus and ease campus-wide overcrowding. But questions remain about how many dorms to build, where they should be located and when they should be constructed.

Two alternatives for the first phase of construction on East Campus are as follows:

** Building enough housing for 380 students, which would be enough to reduce University-wide overcrowding and close Hanes Annex on North Campus.

** Building enough housing for 760 students, which would allow the University to close all of North Campus. This alternative would shift all of North Campus' residential spaces to East but would not address University-wide overcrowding.

rMDNM_ In May 1992, the board had tentatively planned to reduce overcrowding and close Hanes Annex first, by building dorms for about 380 students, then close the rest of North Campus later. But the desire to close North immediately has prompted some administrators to push for building 760 bed-spaces now.

Some students assert that building 760 spaces would drastically change East Campus, and that it would not force the University to face the overcrowding problem.

During his address to the board, Trinity senior Hardy Vieux, ASDU president, said he enthusiastically endorsed the plan to build housing for 380 students on East.

Criticizing plans to place 760 students on East, Vieux said the campus lacks the necessary eateries, athletic facilities and transportation services. The process needs more of a holistic approach, he said.

``As an alumnus, I would rest much easier knowing my alma mater values the quality of student life enough to adopt a comprehensive approach rather than a fragmented one guided by architectural feasibility.''

A top administrator involved in the new dorm project disagreed with Vieux and said he thought the University needed to build at least 760 bed-spaces during the first phase.

Three hundred-eighty alone doesn't do it,'' said Charles Putman, executive vice president for administration, after the meeting.It doesn't do anything . . . to address the concern of [North Campus].''

Putman said some of the needed enhancements to East Campus are being made, such as renovations to the Lilly Library and several of the dorms. Food services, transportation and other necessary issues would also be addressed, he said.

During the closed session, the board also debated whether East should become an all-freshmen campus.

Putman, who is coordinating the new dorm planning committee, said the committee will examine the issues in an effort to develop a complete plan by May's Board of Trustees meeting.

Any recommendation will also go through the long-range steering committee and the President's Advisory Committee on Resources before reaching President Keith Brodie. President-elect Nan Keohane will also be involved in the decision.

Putman said he was hopeful that, with board approval in May, construction could begin in the summer and the dorms could be ready by fall 1994. But he said he was uncertain whether the planning would be finished by May.

IN OTHER BUSINESS: The board gave preliminary approval for the Medical Center to move foward with plans for a $22.5 million primary care building. Medical Center officials will bring an updated proposal to the board in May.

The building would be located south of the Durham Freeway on Fulton Street. It would take the place of current clinics in five different buildings and house such services as family medicine, general medicine, general pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology.

The board also approved $300,000 in preliminary funding for a new recreational facility. A more complete proposal is expected to come before the board in May. Tentative estimates place the rMDNM_total cost of the building somewhere between $16 million and $19 million. A final location has yet to be determined.

Fuqua student Richard Larsen, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, said there needs to be a greater committment to graduate student housing on campus, during his address to the board. He pointed to the impact of undergraduate housing on graduates by noting that graduate students have lost spaces on Central Campus several times as the result of an undergraduate housing crunch.

The board gave final approval for plans to renovate the Lilly Library on East Campus. The library is scheduled torMDRV_rMDNM_ close the day after final exams end in May, with plans for it to be finished by the time classes resume in the fall.

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