The independent news organization of Duke University

New dorm complex will bring more suite-style living to West Campus

As students complain of mold on Central Campus, a new West Campus dorm called The Hollows may provide a solution.

Construction on the complex will begin in July, with plans for the dorm to be ready to house students in the Fall 2019 semester. Located near Edens Quadrangle, the complex will help phase the living spaces in older Central Campus buildings and will house 500 to 550 students in suites organized around common living and kitchenette spaces.

“The Hollows is obviously one of the first steps in replacing Central Campus,” said Basil Seif, vice president of residential life for Duke Student Government. “It’s definitely important because I think the administration and student opinion have both deemed that Central Campus is no longer good for Duke students to be living in on a permanent basis.”

The project will include three building sites, with two buildings set to begin construction this summer and a third site for future expansion.  

Seif noted that he and other officials lobbied for a suite-style design of the rooms, which will house four students each. Both he and Rick Johnson, associate vice president of student affairs for Housing, Dining and Residence Life, agreed that suite-style housing was “something that a lot of students wanted to see.”

In recent years, there has been a trend toward suite-style living with dorms such as Keohane 4E, Seif explained.

“Students have been wanting to see more suite-style spaces in the rest of campus, and we think The Hollows is a good opportunity to do that,” he said.

Dean for Residential Life Joe Gonzalez added that suite-style rooms were designed to imitate the living style of Central Campus.

At a November forum hosted by HDRL and DSG, students had a chance to analyze plans for The Hollows and give input directly to the dorm architects. Gonzalez said that students' comments “were taken into consideration by the planning group.”

Seif explained that the Board of Trustees initially preferred a more traditional floor plan with single and double rooms and was reluctant to incorporate suites into The Hollows because of the increased cost. When presented with students' opinions, however, the Trustees approved the suite-style plans.

“It’s a great environment because the suite-style living spaces are kind of the direction that a lot of Duke administrators are moving toward because of how diversified the social spaces can be,” Seif said.

He added that these suites—just like common rooms and wide hallways—are additional social spaces to foster community.

The name "The Hollows" refers to the environment in which the new buildings are being constructed, Gonzalez explained. The area adjacent to Edens and Keohane Quadrangles is considered to be the hollow of a forest.

“It’s also what I would consider a username—I think a more formal name will come forward down the line,” Gonzalez said.

Although the name may not yet be finalized, both Gonzalez and Seif agreed that The Hollows will mark a considerable improvement in housing for students.

“Obviously on Central, there have been problems with mold, there have been problems with the quality of the actual residences,” Seif said. “In The Hollows, it’s going to be state-of-the-art, it’s going to be brand new and we’re really excited about it.”

Correction: The dorm with suite-style living is Keohane 4E, not 4A. This article was updated to note that although the complex has three building sites, only two buildings will begin construction this summer. The Chronicle regrets the errors. 


Share and discuss “New dorm complex will bring more suite-style living to West Campus” on social media.