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Village plan puts building on hold

Plans to begin construction of a new building next to the Bryan Center are on hold and may possibly be scuttled as administrators finalize a program statement for the creation of the encompassing West Campus student village.

Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta presented a preliminary version of the statement to members of the Board of Trustees this weekend and will hold a similar meeting with student leaders and Student Affairs officials after fall break.

"Everything is pretty much stopped," Moneta said. "We decided that instead of lots of incremental changes, let's see what the whole game plan is first."

In the University's initial discussions, the new building was earmarked for Auxiliary Services offices, the Textbook Store, the Duke Barber Shop and The Chronicle's offices. Ground was supposed to be broken last spring, but was delayed indefinitely in order for officials to map out completely all of the plans for the student village.

Executive Vice President Tallman Trask said what was originally conceived as an "auxiliary" building is now open to almost anything. The Textbook Store, for instance, could be relocated to the West Union Building, and Great Hall-type dining could move to the Bryan Center or the new building, Trask added. The location of the building is also unconfirmed��the latest possibility as the base of a new football field-sized plaza that would replace the Bryan Center walkway.

Administrators had originally considered placing the new building over the current Bryan Center parking lot. Moneta's plan includes input from both students and administrators, and spells out ideal area measurements for food services, administrative and student group offices, social space, academic meeting space, theaters and student services like the post office.

Moneta's concept of the student village includes the Bryan Center, West Union Building, Flowers Building, Page Auditorium, the new parking deck and theater wing currently in construction behind the Bryan Center, as well as the proposed open-air plaza.

Moneta said he hopes to finalize the plan between now and the end of the semester, and then approach architects and contractors about more concrete plans next semester. "We want to tell [the architects], 'Here's what we want ideally... if we were building a brand new [complex]. Don't worry about the way things are now,'" Moneta said.

Vice President for Auxiliary Services Joe Pietrantoni said his division is in constant communication with Moneta on the plans, but has deferred much of the creation of the program statement to him.

"[I've said to Moneta], tell me the kind of things that you'd like to put there; we'll support it logistically with food operations, postal and other services," Pietrantoni said.

Pietrantoni said he is considering a 3,500-square-foot grocery store to replace the current 800-square-foot Lobby Shop. "That's something we know students liked in the past and would probably use a lot," he said. "We would have high-quality everything, including a nice deli."

Moneta said Dining Services is currently creating a master plan, and he is awaiting its size estimates for each eatery and store. He said the logistics of shuffling Dining Services could pose the greatest challenges to the overall renovations and construction, especially if the ARAMARK Corp.-run Great Hall is moved elsewhere.

All members of the Duke community are welcome at next week's presentation, Moneta said. He added that he hopes to bring a finalized plan--most likely budgeted at over $20 million--to the Board of Trustees next spring.

Andrew Gerst contributed to this story.