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Two new dorms are planned for West Campus, Moneta tells DSG Senate

As Central Campus retires at the end of this school year, West Campus is about to embrace more residents in upcoming years. 

Speaking to the Duke Student Government Senate Wednesday, Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, discussed plans to build two new residential halls on West Campus to accommodate students living in the 300 Swift apartments.

"Our goal is to get two more buildings on West Campus as soon as we can," Moneta said.

Speaking to The Chronicle after his talk, Moneta pointed to two areas on West Campus for possible development. One is located near the Duke Wellness Center, at the intersection of Towerview Road and Science Drive. Several sites between the Hollows and Edens Quad are also under consideration.

The source of funding is still undetermined and there is therefore no formal timetable for the construction at the moment, Moneta added. However, the hope is to accomplish the project within five years. 

In the meantime, undergraduates are being housed in 300 Swift, which Duke purchased for $50 million in late 2016 to house students displaced by renovations to Crowell and Craven Quads. Moneta added that when the new dorms are ready, the 300 Swift apartments are likely to be converted to either graduate apartments or market housing, as originally intended. 

This year also marks the last year for students to live on Central Campus. A plan to redevelop Central is currently developing, Moneta said. 

"I'm grateful that I will be here long enough to truly see the end of Central Campus," said Moneta, who is stepping down as vice president for student affairs after this academic year.

Moneta pointed to the opportunity to redevelop the 58 acres of Central Campus as an exciting next step.

"I personally hope to be able to take a sledgehammer to something," Moneta said, joking about the demolition of Central Campus.

The closing of Central will officially take place the day after commencement at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year. According to Moneta, Duke's long-term housing plan is geared towards moving all students to West Campus.

"West Campus is the place to be," he said. "We've made this incredible investment."

The developments of plans for the new buildings, including living arrangements and locations, will be spearheaded by the Next Generation Living and Learning Experience Task Force, which was established by the Board of Trustees this May. It has not yet been determined whether the new dorms will be apartments, suites or traditional doubles, Moneta said.

In other business:

Aside from the improvement of infrastructure, Moneta said he also witnessed an overall improvement of the campus during his 18 years working at Duke. He referred to the increasing gender and cultural diversity in the composition of DSG as an example. 

"This campus was 80 percent white, 20 percent international or [students] of color in 2001," Moneta said.

He stressed that the increasing gender and cultural diversity in his time at Duke has been driven by the student body, noting to the Senate that they have inherited an "amazing" legacy. 

Moneta also stressed that there is still work left to be done.

"Having achieved demographic diversity doesn't mean that we truly have an inclusive community," he said.

Moneta argued that Duke's student body gives Duke the opportunity to develop in unique ways compared to other institutions.

"The transformation of the physical campus is nothing short of remarkable," Moneta said. "The transformation of the human campus—the population that we now have—gives us the opportunity to do something that no other university in America can do."


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