This site contains information and updates on the West Union Precinct Renovations. Here you will find maps and drawings, meeting schedules, and other pertinent information to help the Duke community stay up-to-date on all the projects involved in the West Union renovation.
Through a generous gift from The Duke Endowment, Duke is now able to restore West Union’s prominence as Duke’s student living room, premier dining facility and lively center of student engagement and activity. When renovated, West Union will feature one of the finest dining facilities in the country, serving students faculty and staff with particularly focus on enhancing the undergraduate community experience. Interactions with faculty, house dining experiences and casual conversation over meals will all be supported in a dining environment offering extraordinary food choices and featuring of many local products and nutritious options.
The ‘new’ West Union will also address many other student needs through both the creative use of renovated space and the thoughtful addition of new space. In addition to the state-of-the-art dining center capable of effectively serving 12,000 meals per day in a community setting, current conceptual models identify new spaces for student clubs and organization to meet and engage with each one another and other Duke students. This ‘Link-like’ space (http://link.duke.edu/) may well be the highlight of the new West Union by providing various sized meeting and activity spaces all circulating around open gathering and community pods strategically located in plain view of diners and passers-by. We envision a lively beehive of student life throughout this extraordinary space.
West Union will serve as the anchor to what we’re referring to as the student and community center ‘precinct’. With the Bryan Center and the Plaza (and with an eventually renovated Page Auditorium), the collection of indoor and outdoor spaces will provide to students and the entire Duke community a vibrant and extensive collection of spaces capable of meeting many needs.
Before the West Union project can begin, one of our major challenges will be to provide temporary dining during the period of renovation (estimated to be 18 months to 2 years). After considering several options, the planning team has decided upon an Events Pavilion, a permanent solution to be built before West Union renovations begin.
The Events Pavilion will fill a long-standing needs for a multi-purpose facility to support student and community large-scale events and activities. The Von Canon rooms are woefully inadequate for student dances and presentations, for the numerous cultural center showcases, for career fairs and conferences and much, much more. The shape of the Great Hall limits functional use to relatively small activities that are particularly suited to a long and narrow venue. The renovation of West Union and the need for an alternate dining facility offer an opportunity to simultaneously and efficiently solve a number of problems. By first constructing an Events Pavilion, we avoid the significant expense for a temporary dining venue, provide a long-term solution for events and activities needs, and enable us to re-purpose the Von Canon rooms for other functions, likely those displaced from West Union.
The introduction of a ‘pub’ venue in the lowest level of West Union further addresses a long articulated need for ‘hangout’ space focused on late night student life. Current thinking anticipates multi-function use of this facility, likely as morning café, mid-day unique lunch and dinner environment, and late-night club scene with music and other student focused entertainment. We expect the Duke University Union will be eager to assist with scheduling student bands, dances and other major student social attractors.
All of the needs herein have been needed for some time, and we as a campus have an opportunity to shape this center of student life to meet our needs and theirs for generations to come through thoughtful renovation of our historic spaces.