Being a political science major, I do not feel like I have any qualifications to talk about construction. But, being of average awareness, however, there are a few general items that I think most people know about buildings (or at least take for granted): 1. Buildings should not move. 2. Standing water on buildings is bad. 3. New buildings should generally be in good working order.
I bring up these three points in reference to the newly built West-Edens Link. Now, I am happy that the WEL exists. Rick's Diner and the Beanery provide good social spaces and are welcome additions to Duke's dining options. Also, I think that the people in Edens can now feel a little more connected with the rest of West campus. Thus, my problem is not with the WEL as it should be. My problem is the WEL as it is right now.
The WEL has moving parts that should not move. Anyone who has walked the upperwalkway to the Beanery or to Rick's has felt the treacherous rock slabs move at some point. I do not know if this is an alignment problem or something else, but I do not like it when the walkways provided to get to the wonderful new additions to West Campus prove treacherous to feet and ankles. Also, for some odd reason, different parts of the building as a whole have moved. In the walkway behind Few Quadrangle, for example, one cement slab has shifted down a inch or so and in doing so has eroded the concrete finish and exposed some of the wooden support. I don't know construction, but I do know that things shouldn't really move like that outside of earthquakes.
Water is everywhere in the WEL and on Duke's campus. Agreed, it has been very wet these past weeks. Also agreed, there is only so much Duke can do, since it cannot control the weather. But I submit that one thing Duke could have done was make sure that any new buildings had no standing water. Alas, this was too much. I suppose the multiple large puddles on the newly built walkways are all a part of integrating the WEL into West Campus.
The WEL works in that the lights turn on and the water runs, but never in my existence either on East, on Central or in Few Quad have I had disgusting water running into my room. Enough said. I only hope that those who got wet in the WEL enjoyed their dean's excuses, as they will probably be the only ones they ever get.
The WEL has great possibility. It already has pulled through in providing more rooms (albeit wet ones) and more dining options. I just hope that at the very least the administration will take into account some of the failures of this building when the plan the next building, and maybe make the walkway to the Beanery stop moving.