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Will the balconies at 300 Swift be ready for use next semester?



It will likely take Duke an entire year to address the safety issues of 300 Swift's balconies.

Joe Gonzalez, assistant vice president of student affairs and dean for residential life, said in August 2018 that a safety review of the apartment complex's balconies was to be "finished shortly." Gonzalez now says that a project to mainly add support to the vertical railings on the balconies will occur during this summer and should be finished in time for the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year.

"We deferred the project to summer to avoid disrupting any students during the spring semester," Gonzalez wrote in an email to The Chronicle.

The balconies have been shuttered for residents of 300 Swift since August due to concerns that the balconies' railings may be unsafe. Signs were placed on doors to the balconies, but residents could still access them by unlocking the door.

Safety reviews conducted throughout the year have included using binoculars to check out the balconies from outside the building.

In November, Swift Residence Coordinator Matthew Bailey suggested that residents close their blinds while the binocular inspections were occurring. Gonzalez said at the time that the binocular-aided reviews were only the "initial round of reviews." Any other lingering concerns would be addressed later via “on-site follow-up reviews.”

Gonzalez said back in August that the balconies' design is not unusual, but that he and Greystar—300 Swift's management company—had a firm run safety tests after Greystar voiced concerns about the railings' supportiveness.

Duke purchased the luxury apartment complex for $50 million in 2016 to house students displaced from dorm renovations.

During the 2018-19 academic year, residents of Craven—which has been under renovation throughout the year—lived in the complex. When the balconies are slated to reopen in August 2019, many students will return to Craven while a new set of students will move in after being displaced from Central Campus' closure.

Selective living groups Alpha Tau Omega, Mirecourt, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Chi will return to Craven along with independent houses Lumos, Powerhouse and Sherwood. Tortuga will go to the Hollows.

Delta Gamma, Delta Kappa Epsilon, JAM!, Multicultural Greek Council, Pi Beta Phi, Pi Kappa Phi and Sigma Nu will all move from Central Campus to 300 Swift next year, along with independent house Sierra.


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