The independent news organization of Duke University

Public policy building on schedule

The Sanford Institute of Public Policy will soon have a neighboring sister building as early as fall 2004 that resembles many of its visible features but surpasses it in technological prowess.

A new building - which doubles the current functional square footage of the Institute-will be located behind the Institute and share a complimentary structure. The architect, Henry Reeder from Architectural Resources Cambridge, Inc., who built the Institute in 1994, was contracted to design the new building.

The final approval process for the new building by the Board of Trustees is expected in May, depending on the fulfillment of fundraising goals. The building was initially presented as a $12 million project, half of which is expected to be funded by the department.

Bruce Jentleson, director of the Sanford Institute and professor of public policy studies, said the accomplishment of the building's fundraising goals are on the horizon. "We have a little more to go, but we're very close," he said.

The funding of the building received a boost Tuesday when the Institute received a $1 million gift from the Coca-Cola Foundation to fund a Multimedia and Instructional Technology Center. The center, one of the most noteworthy aspects of the building, will be joined by classrooms and lecture halls that have increased technological capabilities such as video conferencing and virtual learning systems.

Jentleson said instructors outside of the public policy department will be able to use the new facilities. In turn, he said the goal of the new building will not be to fill it with technological "toys," but to allow all professors and students to take advantage of its resources.

Additionally, Jentleson said the new building will serve to bring together several public policy programs that have been forced to move to outside locations due to space constraints. "Part of being an institute is coherent and cohesive... parts put together," he said, adding that there is some projection for future growth of the Institute. "You don't want to build another building and face that it's too small in a short period of time."

David Arrington, assistant director of the Sanford Institute, agreed, saying the expanding number of graduate and undergraduate students and faculty members requires a larger building. "We're spread out now in so many different venues off and on campus that it allows us to consolidate our centers and programs," said Arrington. "The building will allow us to accommodate class sizes that are more in line with the classes that are coming in."

Arrington also verified that construction will probably begin after the end of the semester, and occupants can expect to enter the new building during the fall 2004 semester. He said classes will probably not be able to convene in the new building, however, until later.

Executive Vice President Tallman Trask said he has been meeting with architects regularly to cement the final plans, and administrators are only waiting for the approval of the construction. He added that he is pleased with the public policy department's growth and improvement.

"They expected it to grow, but perhaps not as fast," Trask said. "They have a clear commitment to try to become good in this field. They are getting in the top of the ranks."


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