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Two faculty houses to be sold for $1 to pave way for new Arts Center

Two faculty house are being sold for $1 each to make room for a new Arts Center on Campus Drive. | Special to The Chronicle | Photo Illustration by Lesley Chen-Young
Two faculty house are being sold for $1 each to make room for a new Arts Center on Campus Drive. | Special to The Chronicle | Photo Illustration by Lesley Chen-Young

This Fall, Duke will start construction of a new Arts Center that will provide a home for Duke’s Dance and Arts of the Moving Image programs as well as numerous student activities.

Expected to open in Spring 2017, the 68,000-square-foot center will include painting studios, video production studios, dance rehearsal studios, a theater, a radio station and classrooms. It will also provide arts faculty and students with technology not accessible in other buildings on campus. The Arts Center will serve a niche on campus that has not been previously addressed, said Scott Lindroth, vice provost for the arts, referring to it as a “game changer for the Arts at Duke.”

“We’re not duplicating any facilities that currently exist on campus,” he said.

The two programs that will make primary use of the Center are the Dance Program and the Arts of the Moving Image Program, Lindroth said.

“There’s been a huge growth in dance at Duke, both in the academic program and through the student organizations, so we will be building quite a bit of dance space in this building," he said. "Other programs such as our Arts of the Moving Image certificate, which have not had a secure home, will be in the center.”

He noted that the Arts Center will be located near the Nasher Museum of Art, creating a nexus for the arts on campus.

“We’re locating it right across from the Nasher Museum, so we’re very much trying to consolidate that part of campus as a major center for the arts at Duke,” Lindroth said. “A lot of our programming will complement what’s happening at the Nasher.”

Before construction can begin, however, the University plans on clearing space for the Center by selling off two faculty houses located on Campus Drive near Anderson Street—for only $1 each. The houses, located at 2022 Campus Drive and 2016 Campus Drive, currently host the business offices for The Chronicle and the Spanish Department offices, respectively.

The caveat that comes with the low price is that whoever buys the houses will be obligated to relocate them to another location so that Duke can proceed with the construction of the Center. The one-dollar price tag is a consequence of how expensive it will be for the buyer to move the house, noted Executive Vice President Tallman Trask.

“It will depend on where they move it to, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it's $100,000,” Trask said. “We’ve agreed to contribute $25,000 to the cost of moving each of them.”

In an email Thursday, Paul Manning, director of the Office of Project Management, said the University will demolish the houses if no one buys them, and that the University will not rebuild the houses at any other location.

But due to the houses' cultural significance, Duke would prefer to sell them rather than demolish them, Manning said.

“They are Duke memorabilia and we wanted to offer them to the Duke and Durham community,” he said.

Trask said that numerous parties have indicated interest in the properties already, but no deal has been reached yet.

Before construction begins, regardless of whether or not the houses or sold or demolished, The Chronicle business offices and Spanish Department will be moving to different locations on campus.

“We have to move,” said Chrissy Beck, general manager of The Chronicle. “If a private owner buys this house, we won’t be moving into it. We need to move onto Duke property, and Duke is moving us into a space on Hull Avenue.”

The Spanish Department could not be reached in time for publication.