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Report outlines Village plan

The first draft of a consultant group's West Campus Student Village study released Sunday calls for an additional 60,000 square feet of space in the Bryan Center-West Union Building area and a renovation and construction program that could cost more than $50 million.

The report, compiled by Washington firm Brailsford & Dunleavy, is highlighted by an almost quintupling of meeting/conference/multipurpose space; more than a tripling in social/recreation space and campus life/advising/support services space; and a doubling in student organization and retail space.

"Although the existing facilties provide suitable food service and theater space, there is an obvious lack of space for student programs, meetings and retail," the report reads. "In addition, the current configuration does not provide needed physical connections between depratments, visibility or easy way-finding."

Brailsford & Dunleavy's findings, which Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta will discuss with the Board of Trustees Student Affairs Committee at its May meeting, is the first synthesis of administrators' and students' visions for the Village concept.

"I'm very pleased with it; it's a very nice commentary to us as to what the community is seeking, and a good depiciton of the total square footage," Moneta said.

The report calls for, among other features:

  • A 24-hour-accessed "one-stop-shop" for all student groups with an inviting "storefront"/reception area. The largest organizations like the Duke Student Government and the Duke University Union, do not see an increase in space. "They monitored traffic flow in those areas and came to the conclusion that there is adequate amount of space for those groups," said DSG Executive Vice President Clifford Davison. Thirty small groups currently controlling 120 square feet, however, gain almost 2,500 additional square feet.

  • A football field-sized outdoor plaza to replace the existing Bryan Center walkway, including a possible amphitheater. "The notion of not just a flat plaza but [a space with some] tiering with staging at one end of it where performances could take place," Moneta said.

  • Additional "seen-and-be-seen" social gathering space, including lounges, game rooms and a dance club. "The Bryan Center has so much trouble right now functioning as a student union because it is not exactly a place where students want to be seen, nor does it necessarily lend itself [to that]," said Davidson. "Only one facade actually has a window."

  • An expansion of the Bryan Center Lobby Shop into a grocery store. "We're not talking about a Harris Teete; something smaller," Moneta noted.

  • A pub or bar. "It better happen," said Davidson. "Every focus group and the surveys have all said that we need one."

  • The same space allotments as currently exist for performing arts and dining. "The report showed that our Duke food services are really exceptional compared to the national averages," Davison said.

  • Centralized space for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Life Center, Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, Multicultural Center, as well as Career Center and Counseling and Psychological Services.

  • A media center for WXDU, Cable 13, Chanticleer and others; as well as space for The Chronicle's editorial, advertising and business offices.

  • A limiting of study space. The report notes that the additions planned for Perkins Library should accomodate most of such space.

  • Ten-thousand square feet of meeting rooms distributed among small, medium and large venues.

  • A 9,000 square foot ballroom for large events like career fairs, orientaiton programs and conference gatherings.

  • An expansion and rearrangement of the bookstore and computer store to meet contemporary standards, improve customer way-finding and improve staffing efficiency.

Moneta said after discussing the plan with Trustees next month, he will begin designing the architectual implementation of the plan over the summer. He hopes to bring an initial design to the Board at their October meeting, as well as a plan on how to phase the project. Moneta, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask and University Architect John Pearce have yet to decide whether to use in-house architects or to outsource the project.

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