The University has sprayed lines around the Dobbs University Center (DUC) to give officials an idea as to the potential size of a new university center. According to Director of the DUC Benjamin Perlman, there is no building design but marked lines simply indicate the footprint of the building that the University wants.
Since November, much progress has been made in determining what is necessary in the new DUC. According to Perlman, University officials have spoken with over 100 students and over 60 faculty members in an effort to understand what the priorities are for the community.
Architecture firm Perkins + Will finished consulting with Emory last spring and recommended a plan combining three different designs known as the “tall,” “grande” and “venti.”
According to a Nov. 21 Wheel article, the “tall” plan would cost the least and the DUC would be separated into two buildings. The “grande” plan would be slightly larger than the “tall” plan and it would be connected to the Alumni Memorial University Center, the building the DUC encloses. The “venti” plan would be the “end-all” scheme. The plan would include three retail-dining options and an underground loading dock that allows trucks to drive head-in.
“Our goal is to build a space that is more reflective than the current University Center on what students want and need,” Perlman said.
According to Perlman, there are five priorities: the university center needs to be welcoming, have inspiring dining, have improved meeting and programming spaces, encourage collaboration and portray school spirit.
Perlman explained that there are currently tentative plans to start a two-tiered selection process for architects this fall.
Nothing is official yet, but Emory is working towards selecting architects to submit proposals, Perlman stated. The goal will then be to narrow the selection down to three to five architects. The architects will come back in the spring and give their plans to the community and get feedback.
A website is being set up to give out updates regarding architect selection, according to Perlman. This would allow the Emory community to follow the progression of the new university center and give feedback to Emory officials.
“Hopefully we will have selected an architect before the end of school this year,” Perlman said.
Making the University Center more accessible for individuals with disabilities has not been a strength of the DUC, according to Perlman.
“Because of the age of the building, it is not legally required to make the DUC Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible,” Perlman said.
â€”By Brandon Fuhr