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Nearly 6 months after HRL said safety review would be 'finished shortly,' 300 Swift balconies still closed

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After the balconies have been closed for nearly six months, Housing and Residence Life is still evaluating whether 300 Swift’s balconies are safe. 

The balconies have been closed to residents since August due to concerns that the railings may not be safe. Safety reviews have included inspections using binoculars to observe the balconies from the outside. 

In August, Joe Gonzalez, assistant vice president of student affairs and dean for residential life, said he expected the reviews to be “finished shortly.” 

Now, potential work on the balconies may have to be done over the upcoming summer, since it may be “overly disruptive,” Gonzalez wrote in an email to The Chronicle. He added that he hopes to know “soon” about the balconies’ future. 

“This has taken longer than we originally anticipated. The review of the scope for any needed work is almost complete,” Gonzalez wrote. “Once received, we will then determine when the work will take place.”

Gonzalez did not reply to a question asking if there are structural problems in time for publication. He also did not reply to a question asking why the review did not happen faster if safety was a concern.  

In August, Gonzalez told The Chronicle that the design of the balconies isn't unusual, but that he and Greystar, 300 Swift's management company, hired an engineering firm to run safety tests after Greystar was concerned that support for the balcony railings may not be sufficient. 

In November, Swift Residence Coordinator Matthew Bailey encouraged residents to close their blinds for reviews of balconies via binoculars from outside. Gonzalez said at the time that the visual reviews were only the "initial round of reviews." Any other lingering concerns would be addressed later via “on-site follow-up reviews.”

Duke bought the 300 Swift apartments in 2016 for a $50 million price tag to replace dorms that closed due to renovations. Currently, residents of Craven Quad live in 300 Swift due to renovations in Craven. 

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