The unmarked construction on East Campus, which has led to speculation and annoyance from residents of nearby Trinity dorm, is turning the quad by Trinity into a new public gathering space.
The opening of Trinity dorm in January 2018 created a newly defined quad on East, but unlike the main quad that’s home to Marketplace and Lilly Library, this new quad lacked many of the seating and gathering areas common elsewhere on campus.
The empty land created a rare opportunity to build a new “meeting and gathering place,'' wrote Dudley Willis, assistant director of housing for Duke Facilities Management.
Paths are being constructed that will lead to a centralized, hardscaped communal area with seat walls. The goal of the project is to establish a “park-like setting,” Willis wrote in a statement provided by Vanessa Roth, manager of communications and support services for Duke facilities management..
The massive excavation work is a result of the utility relocation that must take place underneath the new space. The majority of the project and most visible changes, however, remain a strictly above-ground endeavor. Similar seat walls can be found on the south side of the Trinity dorm, along the Main Street sidewalk.
This news puts to rest speculation about the project from residents of the Trinity quad—many of whom are eager to see the project completed.
“It’s been frustrating during the pandemic, when outdoor seating has been encouraged, to have all of ours torn up,” said first-year Bowie Shreiber.
First-year Heidi Smith said that while the planned improvements “sounded great,” there are no benefits for current residents impacted by the project. She said that “drainage issues and puddles” have been common on the nearby sidewalks since excavation, forcing students to take longer paths to get to dorms like Gilbert-Addoms or Southgate.
“I’m ready for it to be done,” Smith said.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that information about the construction project was from Assistant Director of Housing Dudley Willis, not Facilities communications manager Vanessa Roth, and that the information came from a written statement and not a spoken interview. The Chronicle regrets the errors.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.