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Balconies at 300 Swift apartments closed to residents as HRL evaluates their safety

Duke students living in the apartments at 300 Swift have access to their own kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms—but as of right now, not their balconies.

Housing and Residence Life is concerned that the balcony railings may not be totally satisfactory, so Greystar, 300 Swift's management company, has restricted balcony use indefinitely. 

Residents were informed about the restriction ahead of move-in via email. 

“Greystar, the management company at 300 Swift, identified a potential concern regarding support for the balcony railings that might be insufficient,” Gonzalez wrote in a separate email to the Chronicle. “Though the balconies have passed all inspections during construction and purchase of the property, we felt it important to verify no safety risk exists.”

Gonzalez emphasized that the balcony design is not unusual, but he and Greystar hired a third-party engineering firm to run safety tests just to ensure the the balconies are perfectly safe. He added that notices on balcony doors will be put up until the safety review is finished.

Sophomore Zach Starr is moving into Swift this fall. He thinks that although safety is important, Duke students should still be able to use the amenities at 300 Swift—even if a safety course or information sheet is required.

“I personally think [the balconies] were a big deal, being able to step outside, get fresh air, and enjoying the space with others is all part of what I expected to be able to do as part of living in Swift,” Starr wrote in a text. “Give me a balcony, or give me death.”

Senior Adam Bullock, who lived in Swift last year, never noticed anything wrong with the balconies. 

“My balcony was definitely a big plus on top of an already incredible apartment, and my roommate and I used it often,” he said. “But, given that it’s an atypical feature for a Duke living space, I don’t think I would have been too upset if I hadn’t been able to use it.”

Duke purchased the apartments at 300 Swift in December 2016 for $50 million in order to provide temporary housing for students living in renovated dorms. For 2017-18, students in Crowell Quad lived in the apartments while their dorms were being renovated—for this upcoming year, residents of Craven Quad will live there during renovations. 

The apartments are fully furnished and feature stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and televisions. The complex also has its own gym and pool. 

Gonzalez was confident the balcony restriction would not last too long.

“We expect the review to be finished shortly and we will know better at that time the duration of the restriction,” Gonzalez wrote to the Chronicle. “We will continue to keep residents informed of progress and the timing of any additional work needed for completion of this project.”


Jake Satisky | Editor-in-Chief

Jake Satisky is a Trinity senior and the digital strategy director for Volume 116. He was the Editor-in-Chief for Volume 115 of The Chronicle. 

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