During my sophomore year, I lived on Central Campus—206 Alexander, specifically—which is where my fraternity’s section sits. That location is now past tense, as university officials abruptly announced last week that our organization’s home for the past four years would be razed this summer and that our rising sophomores and juniors would be living off of Swift Avenue, an area of Central Campus so remote most students didn’t realize that it belonged to the University.

While The Chronicle made mention of the frustrations felt from members of my and other affected SLGs, the glaring reality is that this renovation endeavor was made without the consideration and intention of improving the experience of current undergraduates.

As well as anyone who has lived on Central, I recognize the need for the campus to be remade. I was no stranger to mold-ridden bathrooms and walls, crumbling appliances and a lack of general university infrastructure, and in the two years since I’ve left those problems seem to have escalated, sometimes reaching the grotesque. Students who currently live on Central Campus describe HDRL’s attitude towards them as apathetic and unconcerned, and having seen that little to no efforts have been made to address those concerns, there is little to no reason to doubt the verity of the student sentiment.

That’s why the promise of renovations and a new campus construct ring so hollow for many, if not all, the students who still reside there. Yes, pouring $250 million into leveling and rebuilding a decrepit campus will improve the student experience, but not for the next six graduating classes. The buildings on Central have outlived their lifespan by nearly 25 years, and surely in recognizing that these buildings were unsuitable for use—let alone residency—a more cohesive, comprehensive and seamless transition plan could have been put in place.

What seems so crazy to me is that the inability to genuinely incorporate the concerns of current students has almost emerged as a larger story than state of the buildings themselves. Black mold and asbestos—even if it is a reported “trace”—should not be present in any home, much less the living spaces at one of the country’s premier academic institutions.

I recognize Duke’s commitment to ensuring both the long-term financial and physical viability of the University. The endowment is not a bottomless pit of cash, even if people assume that it is. That money is very carefully tied up in designated bunches, and ensuring that those numbers continue to grow and are properly allocated prevents the university from aimlessly throwing cash at any problem.

The issue, then, becomes the way in which the administration envisions and executes these massive transitions. Informing large swaths of students that their housing plans will be altered—or eviscerated—only a month before the school year ends hardly constitutes an appropriate warning. The subsequent inability or unwillingness to provide those affected students any sort of latitude in determining new housing arrangements is similarly frustrating. This comes on the heels of years’ worth of neglect in maintaining the most basic of living standards in Central Campus apartments. Dealing with HDRL and the administration shouldn’t feel like an exercise in futility, but a holistic look at the University’s management of Central Campus reveals more setbacks than steps forward.

Four years ago, my fraternity was transferred from Wannamaker to Central Campus during the University’s last great housing model makeover. Back then, members told me they were nervous, averse even, to being driven off West Campus and transferred to an isolated area that more closely resembled a Picasso painting than college. Yet, those members and the classes that followed cultivated a Central Campus living experience that was, in my opinion, vibrant, fun and memorable. There was no library, no gym and no certainly no convenient bus schedule, but the opportunity to carve out a space for your own made it more than worthwhile.

That space is now being bulldozed, and I can’t help but feel for the youngest members of my fraternity. That being said, I have no doubt that the sophomores, freshmen and incoming Dukies that will eventually populate our new Swift section will be able to forge a new identity there. In spite of the mold, bats and asbestos, the Central Campus I’ve grown to love was once seen as a barren and isolated swath of Duke’s expanse. I can’t help but feel the same way about Swift, but if Central Campus as I knew it could endear itself to me, I’m sure that this new section will manage to do the same for future classes. After all, a place is only as good as the people in it, and there are some damn good people moving into that section.

Caleb Ellis is a Trinity senior. His column normally runs on alternate Fridays.