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Duke hosts forum on Central plans

More than a hundred members of the Durham community filled the Nasher Museum of Art auditorium Wednesday to learn about the University's campus expansion plan.

Representatives from Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects-the lead architectural firm for the project-and Duke officials discussed the future construction on Central Campus and answered questions from local residents.

Fred Clarke, collaborating design principal and one of the founding members of PCPA, outlined plans for the construction's first phase, which is projected to cost $400 million and is scheduled to be completed in 2011. He emphasized that the new campus will make students feel like they are in "a campus in the forest," with space for pedestrian walkways and bike paths along Campus Drive.

"You can see immediately that this very much has a Duke kind of character and will extend the character and feel of the existing campus in a very handsome way," Clarke said.

The plan will integrate the social, residential and academic aspects of the campus, and link West Campus to the Nasher.

During the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, several local residents said they feared that bringing the campus further south would disrupt traffic flow in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Provost Peter Lange said the plan does not accommodate a significant increase in the number of students or cars, but instead answers the existing needs of the University. With two "sizeable" garages built on the perimeter of campus, Lange noted that traffic will not disrupt surrounding neighborhoods.

"Parking is dealt with on the perimeter of the new campus, and this is so we can try to keep the cars out of the center," Clarke said. "We feel this is very, very important to solve the car problem just as we're solving the student housing problem."

Lange said that to further reduce traffic and parking problems, the administration will implement a carpooling incentive for students in the future by providing a free parking pass for a group of four students who agree to share a single car on campus.

Phail Wynn, vice president for Durham and regional affairs, moderated the assembly and said it was the first of several on-campus meetings to discuss the progress of the project.

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