The independent news organization of Duke University

HRL sends email about sinking floors in 300 Swift, advises no more ‘group dancing/jumping’

“The sky is falling!” exclaimed Chicken Little. In the 300 Swift apartments, the sky is still not falling, but the floor is a whole other story.

In a Feb. 20 email obtained by The Chronicle, Joe Gonzalez, assistant vice president of student affairs and dean for residential life, confirmed to students living in 300 Swift that there have been two official reports of ”sagging” floors in the building, and in response, further inspections will be performed to ensure the continued safety and security of students and personnel.

He also explained Housing and Residence Life’s current plans for repair and asked for students’ cooperation in avoiding further damage.

“At this point, based on all the information we have as well as visual inspection of the affected areas, 300 Swift continues to be safe for occupancy and approved building use,” Gonzalez wrote. 

When Gonzalez first confirmed floors falling in a couple units earlier this week, he stated that to avoid disruptive construction work, repairs would be made after Spring 2020.

Gonzalez explained in the Feb. 20 email that HRL would inspect all 300 Swift apartments between Thursday and Friday to determine if there are any other cases of this problem, and beginning Friday an independent structural engineer would be reviewing the complex’s structural design and inspecting the impacted areas for repairs.

In the meantime, however, students’ original hypotheses for what caused the damage—excessive, overcrowded and overactive parties in 300 Swift apartments—might have caught HRL’s attention. Gonzalez asked for students’ help to avoid further damage and ensure each other’s safety by limiting the number of people in any apartment at one time and the amount of activity groups engage in.

“Based on information gathered at the time of occurrence, the sagging floors seem to have been caused by overcrowded events including group dancing/jumping,” Gonzalez wrote, asking students to hold back from the dancing and jumping.

He asked that one bedroom apartments not have more than six people in them at one time, and no more than 10 in two-bedroom ones.

To further deter these gatherings from occurring, Gonzalez added that the only events that can occur in the building are those registered through Duke Groups and held in appropriate spaces.

Resident Assistants for 300 Swift Apartments were reportedly informed in August 2019 that the floors of the building’s units had fallen a few centimeters since being built, but it did not appear that any attempts to address this were made until facility issues began being reported.

This is not the first structural issue identified at 300 Swift. Access to balconies for 300 Swift apartments was restricted by the management company for the building, Greystar, for the 2018-19 academic year due to security concerns. 

Comments