While administrators publicly say that the foundation of the university is its students, sometimes Duke has to worry about its other foundation—in this case, the one buried under the admissions building.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions building on Campus Drive will be renovated during the 2019-20 academic year, improving its nearly 100-year-old foundation and facilities. Admissions officers and staff are moving to separate locations for the year.
The building will undergo a series of repairs, Vice President for Facilities John Noonan wrote in an email to The Chronicle. Renovations include modernizing its “mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems,” and replacing the roof. The building’s foundation will also need repairs to fix foundation settlement issues and upgrade Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility. The renovation will also connect the building to the campus-wide chilled water system to improve air conditioning efficiency.
The admissions building was built in 1930 originally to house Duke’s president. The building now hosts the admissions visitors center and its information session space, as well as admissions offices.
The adjacent visitors center—McClendon Commons—is a newer building, constructed in 2003. However, apart from its shift from a home to an office, Noonan suggested that the admissions building has otherwise largely remained in its original form and therefore requires upgrades due to its age.
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag told The Chronicle that most of the admissions staff will be relocated to the Noell building on the American Tobacco Campus. While the admissions office expects to eventually be back on Campus Drive, Guttentag suggested that the change in scenery might work out in the short-term.
“We’re actually looking forward to having everyone on the same floor and more accessible to each other than they currently are,” Guttentag said.
A handful of staff who regularly interact with visitors will be relocated to the brand-new Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center at 615 Chapel Drive, which will host admissions visitors during the 2019-20 academic year. Guttentag predicted that visitors would enjoy the location change, given the modern, spacious facilities that the new building offers.
“[Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center] is a real visitors center with appropriate facilities,” Guttentag said.
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